Lulu’s Provencal Table by Richard Olney

2 lbs of Mussels, soaked in water with a handful of coarse sea salt, cleaned, and bearded
1/2 cup dry White Wine
4 TB butter
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed, peeled and chopped
2 lbs of Spinach, stemmed, washed, parboiled for a few seconds, refreshed under cold running water, squeezed well and chopped
1 TB Flour
1 cup Whipping Cream
Salt and Pepper
Dried Breadcrumbs

Put the mussels and the white wine in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, place over high heat, and as soon as the wine comes to a boil, shake the pan repeatedly for 2 or 3 minutes, or until most of the mussels are open.  Empty the pot into a colander placed over a large bowl.  Remove the mussels from their shells, first slipping the knife blade between the shells of those that have not opened.  Pour the liquid through a cheesecloth lined sieve, discarding any sediment that has settled at the bottom of the bowl.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.  In a heavy saute pan, melt half the butter over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and when it begins to sizzle, add the spinach.  Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for about 5 minutes, or until the spinach has lost its superficial moisture.  Sprinkle with the flour, stir, and cook, stirring for another couple of minutes.  Add the mussels’ cooking liquid slowly, stirring the while, and cook, stirring, until the spinach has absorbed all the liquid and is quite thick.  Add the cream in small quantities at a time, stirring and cook until the mixture is consistent.  Taste for salt and grind over pepper.  Butter a gratin dish, spread the mixture into it poke little holes repeatedly into the surface and place a mussel in each.  Sprinkle the surface generously with dried breadcrumbs, scatter over shavings of cold butter and bake for 20 minutes, or until the surface is golden.