This is a lovely meal for a June evening in Maine, when the weather is warm but not yet hot. Add a basket of good chewy artisan bread and something chocolate for dessert and you’ve got a fine company dinner.


Mussels are great in so many ways – they are plentiful, inexpensive, beautiful to look at, and delicious – plus these days, since most are farm-raised, they don’t need much scrubbing or debearding. I love making chowders with whole, intact bivalves if possible, because they make such a lovely broth. This lightly curried brew is meat-free and is flecked with carrot, leek, and yellow pepper, making for a chowder that is beautiful to behold.

4 to 6 servings

3 pounds mussels

2 cups dry white wine

5 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1¼ pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3¾ cups)

¾ teaspoon salt, plus more if needed

2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 leek, cleaned and thinly sliced (white and pale greens parts only)

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 large shallot, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 cup heavy cream

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Scrub the mussels, and pull off beards if necessary. Combine mussels, 4 cups water and wine in a large pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, shaking the pot to redistribute the mussels, until they open, 4 to 6 minutes, depending on size. Use a slotted spoon to transfer mussels to a bowl, discarding any that do not open. Set aside 16 mussels in their shells and shuck the rest. Pour mussel broth into a bowl, leaving any sediment behind in the pot, and set aside for at least 30 minutes, then measure out 4 cups, again leaving any sediment behind. The mussel broth will be a steel gray color. Add water if necessary to make 4 cups. (Mussels and broth can be prepared a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Heat butter and oil in a large heavy soup or Dutch oven pot. Add potatoes and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add carrots, leek, bell pepper and shallot, and cook, covered, over low heat until all the vegetables are almost tender, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add reserved mussel broth, bring to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are fully tender, about 5 minutes. Add cream and the shucked mussels and simmer gently for 3 minutes to blend flavors. Season with pepper and more salt if necessary. Let sit at cool room temperature for at least an hour or, better yet, refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, add reserved mussels in their shells and reheat over low heat. Ladle into bowls, making sure that each serving contains at least 2 mussels in their shells, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.


This salad is best made with the tender baby kale that is now being sold with the other packaged lettuces in the supermarket. If you can’t get it, the smooth-leaved lacinto (sometimes called lacinato) kale is usually more tender than the curly variety. Cut it crosswise into fine slivers.

6 servings

1 small shallot, finely chopped

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons honey

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 cups (about 5 ounces) baby kale, torn into bite-size pieces, or thinly sliced kale leaves

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

Whisk together the shallot, vinegar, oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a small bowl or covered container. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine kale and tomatoes in a salad bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss gently. Add the cheese and toss again. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.