& Chorizo...A Love Story
Mussels and Chorizo grew up on different sides of the tracks. Mussels was a delicate creature....always treated with tender loving care. She had a privileged life...growing up on the waterfront. Everywhere she went she was kept at the right temperature...handled gingerly...she was a princess. Chorizo on the other hand grew up on the streets. He was a mutt....made of different parts of pork....he even had a little paprika in him which gave his skin a red hue. He was different and everyone could see it. He had been stuffed and smoked and hung upside-down..... he had a rough life. One day the two were brought together by their best friends, White Wine(Mussels' BFF) and Tomatoes(Chorizo's BFF) at a party. There was a mixed crowd at this shin-dig....Garlic was trying, once again, to hit on the oh-so-smokin' hot Dried Pepper Flakes in the corner but as always, she just could not get over Garlic's breath...Basil and Parsley were ignoring Salt and Pepper, as usual(cliques - what are you gonna do?)....and poor old Chicken Broth was passed out on the couch(yup, he's quite the lightweight). But when Mussels and Chorizo saw each other from across the room it was love at first sight. They were meant to be together. Yes. It was fate. A match made in culinary heaven. That night got crazy folks. I'm talkin' downright wild. Together, they stewed in a hot tub with the rest of the party, and it was oh-so-right. So break out some crusty bread, turn on a little Barry White, pour yourself a glass of wine, and have an intimate double date with the hottest couple around....Mussels and Chorizo.
RECIPE:::::::Mussels with Chorizo
3 pounds of mussels for two very hungry people OR for 4 people as a starter
1 good sized link of chorizo(maybe about 4 or 5 inches worth) cut into chunks
1 1/2 cans of good quality crushed tomatoes
2 garlic cloves(finely chopped)
1/4 cup of white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 tbs. dried basil
1/2 tbs. dried parsley
1 tsp.(or more if you like) dried red pepper flakes
This is one of the easiest and most "wow-worthy" recipes of all time. There are just a few things you need to remember when working with mussels. Look for mussels with very tightly closed shells. Sometimes you'll find bunches of mussels that look closed, but with further inspection are slightly opened(pic. right). You don't want these. Once they're home keep them ON ice in the fridge. Don't let them swim in the ice, just keep them ON the ice(I keep them in a bag on the ice so they don't get submerged). They'll keep for a day or so like this. Ready to cook? Good, let's get the broth going first, then we'll sort the mussels. Find a stock pot large enough for twice as many mussels as you have(they'll open when they're cooked and if the pot isn't big enough they will push the lid right off the pot). Pour the canned tomatoes, garlic, wine, broth, basil, parsley and red pepper flakes in the pot. Bring to a barely there simmer and let it sit for 5 mins or so. We just want the flavors to come together a bit before we add the Chorizo. After 5mins, go ahead and throw the Chorizo in and let that simmer for another 5 - 8 mins. Check the seasoning. It will probably need a bit of salt and maybe more red pepper flakes if you "like it hot". While you're letting this puppy simmer away, start cleaning and sorting the mussels. Go through each one to be sure the shells are closed tightly. Open ones should be discarded and not cooked. If it's a good one, remove the beard, a fuzzy bit attached to the mussel(pic. right) and rinse it under cool water. When in doubt over whether a mussel is "tightly closed" throw it away. It's not worth it folks. Once you've gone through all the mussels just pour them into the simmering broth, cover, and let cook until all of the shells have opened(5 - 7 mins). Once they're opened pour them into a large(high sided) serving dish and dig in! While transferring the mussels give them a quick once-over. If there are any that haven't opened discard them. They're not safe to eat. You can serve these beauties with crusty bread for dipping(sometimes I slurp up the broth with a spoon), or perhaps serve it with a side of plain pasta dressed in a bit of good olive oil, red pepper flakes and fresh basil. Enjoy!