Heat 4 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add celery, onions and garlic. Stir well and sweat the vegetables until the onions are soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups white wine (or beer) and reduce by half (approximately 10 minutes). Add clam juice along with pepper and red chili flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
In a separate large sauté pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. When hot, add mussels and cover briefly to prevent oil from splattering, remove lid and sauté for 1–2 minutes. Add ½ cup wine (or beer) and diced red peppers. Reduce until a few tablespoons of liquid remain.
Add the prepared broth, and cover for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all mussels are open. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter and chopped parsley and stir to incorporate.
Divide mussels and broth among 6 warm shallow bowls, garnish with scallions and serve with plenty of toasted bread for dipping.
* Note: If mussel shells are slightly open, simply tap or press on the shell—after about 5 seconds, the shell should close. If not, the mussel is dead so discard it.
WINE PAIRING: 2012 Karl Steininger Kamptal Reserve Gruner Veltliner
This wine is a beauty. It has a racy minerality that explodes in the mouth, yet at the same time is restrained and creeps in softly, not overpowering. Its flavors will marry with the varied ingredients in this take on the classic moules marinières—peppers, scallions, chili flakes. At the end of the palate the minerality turns into a roundness that gives off an almondy flavor.
—Jessica Norris Granatiero, The Savory Grape, East Greenwich
Recipe by Chef R. Robledo, Boat House Waterfront Dining, Tiverton