Tuesday, January 8

Pernod



In a few days I will profile the fabulous caterer Peter Callahan. A recent email exchange with Peter reminded me of my aperitif of choice over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was in New Mexico, sitting by a roaring fire, that I discovered the lovely concoction of Pernod and ice cold water. Admired by generations of artists, from Van Gogh and Manet to Wilde and Poe, for its unique color and refined taste, Pernod has been a popular drink in France for many years.

Pernod is generally considered a pastis, an anise-flavored liqueur, typically containing 40–45% alcohol by volume, hence the reason to mix it with water. The traditional mixture is four parts cold water to one part pastis. As a side note I have been told to never drink it with ice. When absinthe was banned in France in 1915, the major absinthe producers (then Pernod Fils and Ricard, who have since merged as Pernod Ricard) reformulated their drink without the banned wormwood component.

A premium liqueur, it boasts a natural anise flavor derived from a distilled blend of aromatic herbs. Its relative in Greece is Ouzo, in Italy Sambuca and in Turkey Raki. The exotic bouquet, when tasted neat, is potent and bittersweet, but with the addition of water, it turns milky-opaque and has a long, liquorice-like finish.

Chefs worldwide have an appreciation for Pernod's ability to flavor the meal without overpowering its natural taste. I’ve just discovered this wonderful mussel recipe that I plan to making over the weekend. As a general rule Pernod should be added at the end of the cooking process to yield the best flavor. Enjoy!


Mussels with Pernod And Cream
1 1/3 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons Pernod
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Combine sliced leeks and dry white wine in large pot. Add mussels. Bring to boil over high heat. Cover pot and cook until mussels open, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer mussels to medium bowl (discard any mussels that do not open). Add whipping cream and Pernod to pot; boil until liquid is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Mix in chopped parsley. Return mussels and any accumulated juices to pot. Simmer until mussels are warmed through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper.

Serve mussels with broth and good bread for dipping!
Serves 2

photos flickr

14 comments:

Brian said...

The mussels sound delicious. Pernod reminds me of summers in the south of France.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite drinks of all time!

ALL THE BEST said...

Sounds wonderful Brian!!

Anne said...

Yum on both counts...Pernod and mussels.

It's too early in the morning for me to be having these cravings!!! Back to work!
Anne

ALL THE BEST said...

Oh Anne I can sympathize! We've just returned from a 3 week trip to the States and would much rather be enjoying Pernod and mussels, instead I'm unpacking and doing laundry!

Pamela said...

Can't wait...LOVE Peter Callahan.
PMJ

The Peak of Chic said...

I make this very same recipe (Epicurious?)- it's delicious. The only way I prepare mussels!

ALL THE BEST said...

Hi Jennifer - yes it's a modified version from Epicurious. I think their version had red peppers and something else (can't remember). It's so delicious!

Patricia Gray said...

Yum on the Mussels!!

Pigtown-Design said...

Pernod and oysters, too!

ALL THE BEST said...

Ohhh oysters sound great too Meg!

Suzy said...

sounds delicious, will have to give it a try when it gets a bit warmer here...

Easy and Elegant Life said...

I'll add it to my recipe index, thanks! And the oyster idea -- great!

Mrs. E and I had a shot of Absinthe last trip through Antibes. It was served ice cold. I didn't think it was that different from pastis. It took me about 10 minutes to ask about the alcohol content. 70% by volume. I don't think all the madness had anything at all to do with wormwood.

Not sure what we had for lunch...

ALL THE BEST said...

Antibes and Absinthe...sounds wonderfully romantic and relaxing!I agree, it's the alcohol content that will get you!!