Whidbey Island-Style

By D. J. Costantino

By

D. J. Costantino
Chef Marcelle Crooks' Stewed Mussels, chickpea cake, berbere aïoli, harissa tomato sauce
Chef Marcelle Crooks' Stewed Mussels, chickpea cake, berbere aïoli, harissa tomato sauce

“With mussels it can go either way, a wine broth on the sweeter side, or mussels like where I grew up, with hot sauce,” says Chef Marcelle Crooks. Crooks is a third generation cook from Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, where the air is vitalizing, the vibe is easy, and seafood is always on the stove. “I’ll throw a pear in with the steaming mussels, they eat well with mussels, adding acid and brightness.” At Little Bird, Crooks balances sweet and spicy, cooking mussels in white wine and pear butter and serving them atop rosemary panisse with harissa-spiked tomato sauce. She finishes the dish with smoked pickled jalapeño, pickled pear, and berbere aïoli. You may not have eaten mussels like this before, but you’ll want to from here on out.

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