I gonna lay some knowledge down hard and fast:
Mussels are good. Mussels cooked in wine are awesome. Mussels cooked with citrus are awesomer. Mussels cooked with bacon are awesomest. And Mussels done the Belgium way pack some serious awesomicity.
These, my friends, are those mussels. I shouldn’t have to explain why this is important. Like all good things in this world, it starts with bacon. Boo-ya-ka-sha!
Mussels, Belgium Style:
1 lb. Black mussels ( I like the one’s from Prince Albert Island. They’ll be labeled “PEI”)
2 slices thick cut bacon
1 large shallot
1 small clove garlic
1 c. White wine (not too sweet. dry is best for this one)
1/2 c. orange juice
1 T. flour
2 T. Gorgonzola (I love Amish Blue)
Cilantro/parsley/ chervil/ OR green onion tops for garnish
First order of business is to clean the Mussels. If you’ve never done this, be not afraid. Put them in a colander and run a slow stream of cool water. Some Mussels have “beards”. It’s a little stringy bit protruding from the shell near the base of the hinge. To remove the “beard” simply pull it out. There. It’s Done. Easy right? Give them all a good rinse and a round of applause.
Note: It is VERY important that you keep your Mussels cold and exposed to air BEFORE cooking. Never cover them, because they will die. Mussels need to breath. They are still alive when you buy them. Be nice to the little dears. Treat em well…
In a large skillet, cook bacon strips til crispy. Remove from pan. Retain the fat.
Throw shallot in bacon fat and caramelize. Add garlic. Deglaze pan by pouring in White Wine and scrapping up all the bits that stuck to the bottom. Reduce. Sprinkle in Flour to thicken. Sort of a makeshift Roux. Add orange juice, and sprinkle with pepper.
When the sauce is good and ready, it’s time to add the Mussels. Pour more liquid in if needed. You need enough sauce to steam cook the Mussels. Cover for about 45 seconds, or until you see them begin to “peek”. Uncover and stir. Add Gorgonzola. YOUR MUSSELS ARE COOKED WHEN THEY OPEN. If some of them don’t open, throw them away. They are dead and should not be eaten.
Next, Pour in a bowl. Garnish with Parsley or Cilantro or Chervil or Green Onion. That’s it. Super simple.
Serve with Garlic toasts or Crispy Frittes (as the Flems would do!)
As for Drinkables, go with a great Light Belgium Ale (Like Chimay Cinq Cents, White Rascal or Trippel) or some of that leftover White Wine.
Ahhhh. I love summer time hunkage. PEI Mussels are Total babes.