Eat This: Et Voila's Sea Urchin Cream Mussels

Mussels are one of those dishes that I love to order out but never make at home. I don't know why. I cook clams all the time, but mussels ... maybe it's that they're best served with piping hot, crispy frites and a cold Belgian draft beer. Neither of which I typically have in my kitchen.

Chef Claudio Pirollo mixes up a batch of steamed mussels.
metrocurean photos

So it was a treat to spend Monday afternoon in the kitchen at Et Voila with chef Claudio Pirollo to learn a bit about cooking mussels. Pirollo talked about building flavors in the pot and how many different ingredients mussels play nicely with. He cooked up a version with bacon, cream, white wine and mushrooms, a recipe I'll definitely be making at home.

But it was the version with sea urchin cream that I'm leaving to the pros and coming back for. Pirollo simply blends briny sea urchin roe with cream for a silky, earthy coating to the plump mussels. The $22 pot is part of Et Voila's newly expanded mussel menu.

And if you head to the cozy Palisades restaurant, don't miss the Hoegaarden beer ice cream, served over an almond cream pear tart. Like I said, mussels are best served with a Belgian brew — even if it arrives as dessert.