Taylor Shellfish Mussels and Bluebird Grains Farrotto for $4 Each

After an hour of stirring the brown lump of nothingness, it was the final five minutes that suddenly transformed it into a meal. What was plain and ugly became something so beautiful that I couldn’t help but snap a quick photo before I set it on the table.

And of course, once I had the picture, I had to share it. Because this dish? It’s simple as shit. And simply delicious. And a fantastic value

As we ate the meal, I couldn’t help but think about the value of our farmers market. I had paid $8 for two pounds of mussels. About half of that fed the two of us for dinner. Which is $2 per person. Add in about $1 per person for the farro. The rest of the ingredients had negligible costs: Homemade stock, salt, butter butter and parsley, which came from our garden. We’ll call it a dollar for all that. Total cost of this amazing meal? $4 per person.

The monetary cost is one thing but the value of the mussels and local farmers market vendors is what struck me. I paid the $8 for the mussels, which is maybe a little more than you’d pay at your local grocery store. On the other hand, seafood can be questionable at a local store-not because they aren’t necessarily taking care, but there is that extra step. Whatever the reason, I’ve never bought seafood at the farmer’s market that was anything less than the best I’ve ever had of that particular item. These mussels were no exception. The Taylor Shellfish stand is a treasure of our treasured farmer’s markets and tonight’s meal was a reminder of that.

Unfortunately I did no measuring as I made this, but it is so simple that I hope you’ll try it and trust yourself to cook it!

Sauté chopped whites of leeks, an onion, a few cloves of garlic, and the farro (I adore Bluebird farms for their grain in much the same way I adore Taylor Shellfish for their goodies) in a little bit of butter. Over medium heat, add stock about a cup at a time, stirring constantly, waiting each time until the liquid is absorbed, for an hour. At that point, add the mussels and let sit for 5 minutes. You can stir a little if you have a lot of mussels and they’re in two layers. Add in the parsley and let them cook until they shrink up a little. Salt to taste and serve!