Gallery Time: Mussel Beach

This was about the most perfectly conceived and executed end-to-end gastronomic event of our stay in Oregon.

Stephanie, fed up with the heat, announced we were headed to the coast in order to cool down, dip our toes in the ocean, and knock some mussels off the rocks at a secret location and accessible only at low tide.

We had a terrific day, the girls played their hearts out, and we returned to Stephanie’s place with our hoard of mollusks, many of them as big as I’ve ever seen. We made a fantastic dinner, but that was only the beginning.

The next day we sorted, cleaned, steamed, smoked, and then canned them and the result was so off the charts fantastic that the lot of us – Feral, Stephanie, Abbie, Val and myself and the ladybugs – were collectively stunned into silence as we ate dinner that night.

We all slowly chewed glorious mouthfuls of smoked mussel reubens: grilled fresh sourdough, gruyere cheese, a medallion of breaded, baked eggplant from the garden, a thick layer of chopped smoked mussels that almost glowed orange beneath their gleaming coat of oil, a forkful of pungent, fermented sauerkraut, and a dollop of Russian dressing that Feral conjured up on the spot.

And, here’s how you, too, can make one of these sandwiches yourself:

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