A major perk of my job with The Chopping Block is the delicious food I get to sample. Usually, it's a bite of this or a little plate of that at the end of class. Sometimes the employee fridge has leftover treats that trump the sandwich or yogurt I brought to work with me. And every once in a while, the food gets to come home with me. That was the case on Sunday night, when 4-5 pounds of live mussels were leftover and headed towards the trash. They were still in good shape, but since we were closed on Memorial Day it would have been too long before we could have served them to students. Obviously, I couldn't let the little guys meet their demise any way except by being steamed in delicious broth!
We realized this was a perfect excuse to use Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook, which has at least 5 or 6 different recipes for preparing mussels. After careful consideration we decided on Moules a la Portugaise, or Portuguese style mussels. We were mostly swayed by the chorizo in this recipe, because who doesn't love that greasy, smokey, amazing sausage?
I wish you could really grasp how huge this bowl was. And we ate every last one, soaking up the flavorful broth with torn pieces of baguette. What a feast! White wine, braised carrots, and roasted fingerling potatoes rounded out our Memorial Day dinner. I'll admit that mussels are a bit of work to make at home, but this recipe will really wow any of your shellfish loving friends. Next time I stumble across multiple pounds of free mussels, I'll be testing out another Bourdain recipe from the cookbook. (Hell, this was good enough I might even buy the mussels!)
The fingerling potatoes were another fresh find at Saturday's Green City Market. Joe cut them in half lengthwise, then tossed them with olive oil, dried oregano, and salt and pepper. They were roasted for about 15 minutes, turned, and roasted for 10 minutes more. When they were just about done, he sprinkled pecorino romano cheese on top. Perfect with the mussels!
Moules a la Portugaise
from the Les Halles cookbook, by Anthony Bourdain
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 oz chorizo sausage, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (feel free to double this, as we did)
1 cup white wine
salt and pepper
6 lb mussels, scrubbed and debearded (just before cooking)
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only, rough chopped
4 sprigs flat parsley, finely chopped
In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, and cook until soft and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and the chorizo and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the wine. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the mussels and cook with the lid on until the mussels are all open, about 8 to 10 minutes. Shake. Add the cilantro and parsley (and 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter). Shake again. Serve with crusty bread for soaking up all the amazing broth.