Last summer, while we were enjoying our annual summer pilgrimage to visit my parents, my older son decided he was going to be a pescetarian – seafood only. No meat, please. Living by the sea for six weeks, he survived without much of a hassle. In North Carolina, he was used to getting his meat from our CSA and a variety of local farms around Charlotte and wanted nothing to do with the meat from the grocery store when we arrived at my parents’ house. Seafood, on the other hand, was something he could wholeheartedly embrace living here in Massachusetts with the salty air at our doorstep. Although our summer of seafood was enjoyable last year, this year I vowed to connect with more local farms as soon as I got to town so we could have a little bit more variety at dinner time.
|Busy afternoon crabbing…|
Last Wednesday, I had an opportunity to check out the Scituate Farmers Market for the first time this summer at its new location in the harbor by St. Mary’s Church. Can you imagine a more idyllic spot for a farmers market? Overlooking the boats in the harbor in one direction, marshy grass in the other? It was a beautiful day and the produce at every table looked amazing. And, truthfully, how many farmers markets have you visited that have a vendor table selling lobsters? You need to visit just to be able to check that off your bucket list.
|Rows and rows of local produce …|
As I wandered around the different tables, I was able to touch, taste, and smell every summer fruit or veggie that you could possibly need! However, much to the delight of my son, in addition to an amazing variety of produce from Sweet Georgia P’s organic farm and a bag full of E.L. Silvia’s locally grown tomatoes, I also found ample variety of pastured beef, pork and chicken from John Crow Farm! Alleluliah. Meat is back on our summer table.
Excited by my new discovery of local meats from John Crow farm, I couldn’t wait to make something fun and easy for dinner. I will, of course, still indulge my son’s summer obsession with seafood (I’m right there with him) but I decided to put a little spin on a simple dish of mussels marina by adding some local pork sausage. This recipe is really simple to make and very family friendly.
Cooking mussels can seem intimidating to some people at first but there is really nothing to it. Mussels are probably the least expensive ingredient you can possibly buy at the fish market – they were $2.99 a pound when I bought them at Mullaney’s Fish Market. Even if you are not living by the sea, mussels are pretty easy to find at your grocery store or seafood store all year long. Mussels are a really low-cost ingredient to experiment with – I am always wary about messing up a recipe after I have paid a ton of money for ingredients – no such issues here! And, as a bonus, farmed mussels are an “ocean-friendly” seafood option. (Click here to read more about mussels and sustainability from the New England Aquarium.) Are you inspired yet? Give this recipe a try…
|Mailbox herb garden|
1 small onion, sliced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine (I used chardonnay)
2 small squash, chopped
Small bunch of rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
1 lb. pork sausage, sliced and cooked
2 lbs mussels, rinse and keep chilled
Prepared pasta or rice
|Squash from my dad’s garden|
1. In a large pan, saute the onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil. Add the canned tomatoes and white wine. Stir well over medium heat. Add the chopped zucchini and summer squash. Stir well and let cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat.
2. Add in the cooked sausage. Layer the mussels over the top of the sauce – discard any mussels that are already open before cooking. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes. Stir well and ladle some of the marinara over and around the mussels. Remove from heat when all of the mussels are wide open. Discard any mussels that did not open during the cooking time.
3. Serve over prepared rice or pasta.
|Sausage and Mussels Marinara|