Sunday, October 18, 2009

#11: Mussels with Roasted Red Pepper Puree

Roasted red peppers are wonderful things. They're easy to make and hot damn they are delicious. Four peppers and a particularly fragrant bunch of basil helped me make one of my tastiest recipes yet. Roasting the peppers brings out their sweetness, which I accented with garlic and a small amount of cayenne pepper. The sauce was not spicy, nor was it incredibly rich. It's flavor was just subtle enough to allow the mussels to shine through. Per my friend Carl's suggestion, I drank a Fontana Candida Frascati with this dish. Like the red pepper sauce, the wine was slightly sweet, but not overwhelmingly. It was a nice pairing. A whole wheat loaf from Sarcone's did a nice job of sopping up the sauce that was left in my bowl.

2 lbs. Mussels, cleaned and debearded
4 Red bell peppers
1 Small yellow onion, chopped fine
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 cup Frascati (or other not-quite-dry white wine)
1 cup Fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper

1) Preheat broiler. Place peppers on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and roast under broiler, turning every few minutes to blacken on all sides.

2) Place roasted peppers in cold water for a few minutes, then remove skins.

3) Remove seeds and stems from peppers, then puree in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4) In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

5) Saute onions for 6 minutes.

6) Add garlic and continue to saute for 1-2 minutes

7) Add red pepper puree and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. This should allow the puree to thicken.

8) Increase heat to high, add wine and simmer for 2 minutes.

9) Add mussels, cover and steam for 5 minutes.

10) Stir in half of basil and save other half for garnish.