Tuesday, February 9, 2016

MUSSELS WITH PANCETTA, CHERRY TOMATOES & VERMOUTH

Here is another amazing way to serve mussels. Serve with a green salad and crusty Italian bread for soaking up the delicious broth.


2 lbs (1 kg) mussels with beards attached
1 t (5 ml) saffron powder or threads (optional)
¼ cup (60 ml) boiling water
1 T (15 ml) extra-light olive oil
2 oz (60 g) diced pancetta
2 shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 red chile pepper, thinly sliced or a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup (250 ml) dry vermouth
1 cup (250 ml) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (60 ml) chopped oregano leaves
2 T (30 ml) chopped Italian parsley

Scrub mussels with a brush under cold running water.
 Leave beards attached.
Place in a bowl, cover with a damp towel, and refrigerate until ready to cook.

In a small bowl, add the saffron, cover with the boiling water and set aside.

Add oil to a large deep skillet or Dutch oven and over medium-high heat, brown the pancetta, for about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat, add the shallots and sauté a couple of minutes. 
Add the garlic and chile pepper and sauté another minute.
Turn off heat and remove mussels from refrigerator.

Remove beards with a pair of “kitchen only” needle-nose pliers.
Turn on heat in skillet or Dutch oven to medium-high.
Add the mussels along with vermouth, tomatoes, and saffron with water.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and gently stir.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until shells open, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Mix in the oregano and parsley.

Divide mussels and broth between two warm bowls.
Discard any mussels that did not open.


Serves 2

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