Being a chef, I love to discover and create new recipes, and share them. On a recent trip to PEI, I sampled some of the world’s finest seafood, but the one dish that really stood out was the one I had at Gahan’s Brewpub: mussels!
Gahan’s is PEI’s only microbrewery, located in Charlottetown and boasts great selection of lagers and ales. Now, you should also know that one thing I love is good beer. My friend Nancy, who loves PEI and shares my passion for microbreweries, had told me about Gahan’s. After sampling a flight of the brewpub’s finest, it was time to sample something from the kitchen. Our waitress, an islander, recommended the mussels in a tarragon cream sauce. I’ve eaten mussels many times, but these were, by far, the best I’ve ever had. The mussels were unbelievably fresh; the cream sauce was light and, with the addition of tarragon (my new favourite herb), wonderfully flavourful. As I was inhaling these morsels of love I took mental note of the ingredients I tasted so I could recreate this dish at home.
Upon returning to Toronto, I invited friends over for dinner. What better time than to attempt to recreate the recipe! Here’s my version of Gahan’s mussels in a tarragon cream sauce:
2 lbs. mussels
1 shallot finely diced
1–2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp. fresh chopped tarragon
¼ cup half &half or 18% cream
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. oil
1 cup white wine + 1 glass for the chef (quality control)
In a cold water bath, clean and de-beard mussels.
Sauté shallots and garlic in melted butter & oil for 5 minutes. Add white wine and tarragon. Let boil for 1-2 minutes. Add cream, then mussels. Cover and let steam for 5 minutes until mussels are all open. Pour mussels and sauce into a large bowl, discarding any unopened mussels, and serve w/ warm bread for sopping up the excess sauce.
Photos By Noelle Jenkinson