Steamed Mussels with Celery Leaf Salad
With its mild astringency and juicy freshness, celery is a wonderful foil to strongly flavored seafood. In this recipe you use the outer celery stalks to steam mussels and then serve them with a cold celery leaf salad for crunch and flavor.
To make the salad, place the celery leaves, hearts, and piquillo peppers in a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
To make the mussels, heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, garlic, lemon zest, chile, and bay leaf and cook until the vegetables are tender (about 8 minutes). Add the wine and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the mussels, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and steam the mussels, covered, until they are plump and their shells have opened wide (about 4-5 minutes). Discard any mussels that did not open.
Serve the mussels out of the pot, either with the salad on the side or as a garnish on top of the mussels.