Monday, July 18, 2016

Steamed Mussels with Sea Urchin and Lamb Sausage + Tobin James' Chateau Le Cacheflo

After a friend told us that the sea urchin were back in town this weekend, we drove to the wharf to pick up a few. D cleaned them and we served them as part of our first course for dinner when Jenn and Nic came over after a park play-date on Saturday. Click to read how to clean sea urchin and see our Sea Urchin Crostini.

For our main dish, I wanted to use fresh mussels and some lamb sausage from Corralitos Market & Sausage Company...and pair it with another Tobin James Cellars wine. We did use some of the sea urchin in this dish, too.


  • 1 lamb sausage, cooked and diced
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 1/2 t ground sumac + more for sprinkling
  • 3 to 4 fresh urchin egg roe + more for serving
  • 1/2 C fresh tomato sauce
  • 3/4 C dry red wine
  • 2 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • steamed rice for serving

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Cook onions and garlic until the onions are translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add the sausage and 1 to 2 pieces of sea urchin to the pot, stirring occasionally, until sausage begins to brown and crisp, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the curry powder and ground sumac, stirring until fragrant, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce and wine. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half, approximately 5 to 6 minutes.

Add mussels. Cover and steam, stirring occasionally, until mussels open, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Discard any mussels that don't open. Stir in fresh parsley for serving.

Ladle into individual bowls. Garnish with sea urchin. Serve with rice sprinkled with ground sumac.

Wine Pairing

Years ago one of my best friends introduced me to wines from Tobin James Cellars in Paso Robles. I've had them several times at her house, but I'd never seen them sold locally; she used to belong to their wine club. So, when I saw several different kinds at our local BevMo, I picked up three different bottles for a pairing.

Tobin James' Chateau Le Cacheflo is a red blend with a Mediterranean flair, comprised of a blend of Sangiovese, Syrah and Barbera. On the nose, I would say it was fruit forward with some spice and tobacco. On the palate, it was well-balanced and robust. As it warmed throughout the meal, I got less fruit and more wood. It's definitely an easy drinking wine and paired well with the heartiness of the mussels.

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