From: Executive chef Mark Goldberg, Park Restaurant and Bar, Cambridge, MA. Yield: 4 servings.
2 lb. mussels in shell, washed
½ cup white wine
1 shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove, smashed and sliced
as needed, oil
2 sprigs thyme
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
¼ cup vinegar
1 star anise
½ cup sourdough starter (available at specialty stores)
1 cup soda water
Horseradish Dipping Sauce:
½ cup mayo
½ cup sour cream
½ cup prepared horseradish (or less, to taste)
juice of 1 lemon
For mussels: Wash mussels and discard any broken or open shells. Heat a large pot on the stove. Quickly sauté the sliced, smashed garlic in a touch of oil. Add mussels and white wine; cover pot. Allow to steam for 2 to 3 minutes until mussels just pop open. Remove from heat and cool. Remove mussels from their shells.
For preserved lemon: Slice lemons into rounds, as thin as possible (a Japanese mandolin works well for this). Heat sugar, water, vinegar and star anise to a boil. Pour over lemons and let sit. This is best done a day prior, and can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks.
For sourdough batter: Mix sourdough starter with soda water until you get a liquid a little bit thicker than cream. Heat a deep pan of oil (or a small fryer) to about 350°F. Dredge shucked mussels in flour and dip into sourdough batter. Carefully place the mussels into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from oil and drain. Dip preserved lemon rounds in the batter and quickly fry. They will brown much faster than the mussels, as they have been sitting in a sugar mixture. Remove from oil when brown. Toss both the mussels and lemons in a bit of salt and serve with horseradish dipping sauce. These are best when eaten hot, within minutes of being taken out of the oil.
For horseradish dipping sauce: Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Adjust heat of the sauce by adjusting the amount of horseradish.