Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Date Night : Angry Mussels with Grilled Truffle Bread

My Mountain Man and I have decided to start a new tradition of having a date night once a week. I know that sounds bizarre because we're still quite young, and this kinda sounds like an old married couple who doesn't have time for one another, but it's quite the opposite. We've been dating now for about four and a half years and when you get to being with someone that long, you have to keep the "zsa-zsa-zsu" alive (as Carrie Bradshaw would say). Well, this new tradition is a lot of fun, and we really look forward to it every week now. I either cook us a special meal or he takes us out to dinner, and there are always some beautiful flowers involved (or some delicious chocolates, yum). So, for one of our date nights, I decided to recreate one of his favorite dishes from JCT Kitchen called "Angry Mussels". I have probably described this meal before because it is his go-to order whenever we go to lunch. But the mussels are perfectly cooked in a serrano-bacon-onion-garlic white wine broth, and then served with the best bread in the entire world. Along side of our mussels, I made a fried goat cheese salad & an easy chocolate mousse (which I will post in the next couple days). But, honestly this meal was just so perfect. It was easy to prep and didn't require a lot of hassle because you just throw everything into the pot and wait until the mussels pop open. The most satisfying part of the meal is dipping the delicious grilled truffle bread into the leftover spicy broth... my mouth is just watering thinking about that. I really encourage any couple out there to try and keep a romantic date night once a week, just for some fun!! Enjoy :)
Our Romantic Date Night in the Garden by Candlelight 
Angry Mussels, Grilled Truffle Bread, & Fried Goat Cheese Salads
Angry Mussels with Grilled Truffle Bread
Spicy Serranos, Thick-Cut Bacon, Sweet Onion & Garlic, & White Wine  
The Most Perfect Meal... Ever
For the Mussels:
3lb Mussels, Scrubbed & Debearded
1 ½C Dry White Wine
1 ½C Seafood Stock
8-10 Strips of Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cut into Thick Cubes
1T Coarse Black Pepper
3 Green Onions, Sliced
1 Large Sweet Onion, Thinly Sliced
4-5 Cloves of Garlic, Thinly Sliced
4-5 Serrano Chiles, Thinly Sliced
6T Butter
3T Parsley
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
Thick Crusty Bread, Grilled or Fried in Truffle Oil

1. Place the mussels in a large bowl with cold water to cover. Let them soak for about 20-30 minutes to remove any dirt or sand. Drain the mussels, and then remove the “beard” from each. If they are dirty, scrub the shells with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren’t tightly shut.
2. In a large stockpot over medium heat, cook the peppered bacon cubes to render down that fat. Once the bacon has rendered, remove the cubes, leaving the bacon fat to sauté the aromatics. Add the green onion and sliced onion. Cook these until they become fragrant, but do not brown. Add in the sliced garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Next, add in the thinly sliced Serrano chiles. Let them sauté and become slightly tender. Add in the white wine, butter, and parsley. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
3. Add the mussels into the pot. Cover and allow to cook until the shells are opened, about 10 minutes (discard any mussels that did not open in the cooking process). Once they have opened, add in the cooked bacon and cubes of butter, stirring to coat and melt the butter. Transfer the mussels and sauce to a large serving bowl. Garnish with the green onions & chopped parsley and with the fried bread slices for dipping.

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