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.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Red Pepper's Revenge

Red bell pepper came close to winning my last poll, so I plan to feature it in my next recipe. But what else will I use? Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

#10: Mussels with Carrots, White Onion and Dill

I posted a poll a few days ago in order to get input from my loyal readers. Each of those readers apparently voted about 5-6 times, as I got 11 votes total. I asked whether my next dish should feature red bell peppers, fennel bulb or dill, and dill was the victor. After seeing dill take the lead, I started to wonder why I had given it as an option. While I like dill just fine, I hardly ever cook with it. The idea of dill with mussels just didn't appeal to me that much. But I have to make 50 damn recipes, so it was inevitable that I would have to use a less-than-desirable ingredient at some point.
I was racking my brain for other ingredients to use in the recipe. My lovely girlfriend Tiana has been very supportive of this project, and she decided to search online for dishes with both dill and mussels. She rattled off descriptions of different dishes until she mentioned one with carrots. I realized instantly that this was the ingredient I was looking for. Carrots, onions and dill make for a tasty combination. I picked up some salmon heads to make a stock with, as well as some dinner rolls from Sarcone's Bakery and a bottle of Ruffino Orvieto. The Orvieto was probably not the best pairing for the dish, but it wasn't too bad for its price.

4 lbs. Mussels, cleaned and debearded
3 Large carrots, chopped fine
1 Small white onion, chopped fine
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 cup Dry white wine
3 cups Fish stock (recipe below)

1) Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.

2) Add carrots and onions (salt and pepper to taste). Saute for 6 minutes.

3) Add garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes, then increase heat to high.

4) Add wine and 1/4 cup of dill. Let wine simmer for 1-2 minutes.

5) Add stock. When stock begins to simmer, add mussels and cover. Cook 5 minutes or until mussels open.

6) Stir in the remainder of the dill.

For simple fish stock:

2 Salmon heads
1 Large carrot, diced
1 Small white onion, peeled and halved
4 cloves Garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper
1/4 cup Fresh dill, chopped

1) Place fish heads in large pot. Add cold water to cover.

2) Bring water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the remainder of the ingredients, along with salt and pepper to taste.

3) Simmer for 1-2 hours, or until 3 cups of stock remain.

4) Strain stock to remove solids.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Check out this awesome blog!

My buddy Tom has started a blog where he will be posting recipes for meals from every country in the world. It's located at Check it out!