We were going to make shrimp scampi. We wanted additional broth to flavor the pasta. We bought mussels to make a stock. We cooked them with olive oil, garlic and sherry. Once the mussels had opened we removed them from the pan. We added shrimp shells to the broth. We cooked the shells for 5 minutes and then strained the liquid. We were left with a platter of moist, tender, juicy mussels.
I didn't have a plan for them. We removed them from the shells and set them in a dish to cool. The mussels were the by-product because I wanted the sauce for pasta. They became an inspiration. We dressed them with olive oil, lemon juice, a few spoonfuls of a mustard vinaigrette, and a hearty spoonful of Gran Luchito: smoked chili paste. Just before serving we folded in coarsely chopped basil and chives from the garden. The mussels grew into an exceptional dish. We served them with crusty bread as a prelude to our dinner of shrimp scampi.