Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mussels with Chorizo

Mussels are an excellent source of protein, low in calories and fat, and delicious. They also contain a number of vitamins and minerals. One pound of fresh mussels is usually less than five dollars. That’s a bargain with today’s food prices.

When choosing mussels, make sure that the shells are tightly closed or snap shut when you tap them with your finger. If the shells are open, don’t buy them. When you get home, rinse the mussels in cold water, drain them, and place them in an open bowl, loosely covered, in your refrigerator. (Do not store in a plastic bag!) When you are ready to cook them, pull off any “beards” with a knife.

This is an Italian version of the traditional mussel recipe, using white wine and tomatoes. You could even serve this over some spaghetti squash “noodles” to soak up all the sauce. You can make the sauce ahead of time. Just reheat to high and adjust to a simmer before adding mussels.

1 ½  tablespoons of olive oil
½ large sweet onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
1 ½  cups canned crushed tomatoes with juice
3 ounces Spanish chorizo, cut into bite-sized pieces
½  teaspoon sea salt
1 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 cups of fresh spinach

Heat olive in a large stockpot. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for another minute or two. Pour in the white wine (or chicken broth) and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and add the crushed tomatoes and chorizo. Simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut spinach into a “chiffonade”: very thinly slices. You do this by stacking up the spinach leaves on top of each other, and rolling up tightly like a cigar. Cut the spinach across into 1/8” slices.

Add mussels and spinach. Cover, and continue to cook, shaking pot occasionally. Mussels are done when they open completely. Do not overcook, or they will become tough.

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