Monday, January 23, 2017

Rant: Where's My Broth?

Mussels. They are delicious, inexpensive, healthy & sustainable. Unfortunately, despite these compelling reasons, only about 1.1% of Americans purchase mussels. That needs to change and I've written about this matter before. Check out my prior articles: Want Cheap, Tasty, Healthy & Sustainable Seafood? Choose Mussels; Eating More Mussels; and Master Class--Canada’s Organic Blue Mussels.

One of the most popular ways to serve mussels is in a broth or sauce, sometimes adding chorizo, tomatoes, or other ingredients to it. The broth/sauce should be tasty in of itself, an alluring liquid which you might even want to devour as you would a soup. With your mussels, you commonly receive some bread, maybe toasted or grilled, which is intended to be dipped into the broth/sauce. That adds a second level to the dish, and if the broth/sauce is especially compelling, it helps to elevate the quality of the dish.

However, the dish can fail if the broth/sauce lacks flavor, even if the mussels are cooked perfectly. The same would apply if the broth/sauce is excellent and the mussels failed. Both elements need to be excellent, with a failure in one leading to a failure for the entire dish. There is a caveat though, as even if both elements are excellent, the dish could ultimately fail, or at least be ultimately disappointing. How is that possible?

Recently, I checked out a new restaurant, ordering their Mussels, which came with a white wine broth and chorizo, as well as some slices of grilled bread. The mussels were cooked well, tender and tasty, and the chorizo added a nice spicy kick to the dish. The broth was tasty too, and it made you want to sop up the broth with your bread. However, the dish still disappointed me.

Where's my broth?

The problem was that the dish contained only a small amount of broth, not enough for dipping all the bread. Not enough for your spoon if you wanted to eat the broth as a soup. The broth is an important element of such a mussels dish, and a sufficient quantity of that broth should be present. With only a tiny amount of broth in the dish, you also have to move aside lots of the mussels to be able to reach the broth at the bottom. You shouldn't have to work that hard for a tiny amount of broth.

Yes, it might seem like a little thing, but it can make or break a dish. It would be easy for the restaurant to remedy and it would make their customers much happier. Give us sufficient broth to enjoy, for dipping our bread and for simply enjoying on its own.

And Eat More Mussels!

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