Some of my favorite seafood is at its peak in the cold, winter months. Things like scallops, oysters, and mussels are at their best. And where as the first two can easily set you back a pretty penny, mussels are an inexpensive luxury, even at their finest. Here’s a simple recipe to make use of these budget bivalves.
100g Lardons or bacon
1 Shallot, sliced
2 Garlic cloves, grated
1/2t Chili flakes
100ml White wine (dry)
Parsley, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
15g Butter, unsalted
Heat a pot of water to a boil and add some salt to cook the pasta of your choice. I went with campanelle (each pasta has a different cooking time).
Clean and debeard the mussels. Discard any dead ones. Set aside in the fridge
Cook lardons in a large pan on medium heat to render out the fat and slightly caramelize them. Remove the cooked lardons from the pan and take out all but 1T of the rendered fat from the pan. Add the sliced shallot and sugar to caramelize them. If needed, deglaze the shallots with a little water and cook them until tender and slightly caramelized. Add the grated garlic and cook one additional minute. Next, add the chili flakes and the cooked lardons, and then deglaze the pan with the white wine.
Turn the heat to high and add in the mussels. Cover and cook until they open, about three minutes. (If you can, it is ideal to time it so you pasta cooks to al dente at the same time your mussels finish cooking.)
Remove the lid, stir in the cooked pasta and butter, and finish with chopped parsley and lots of freshly cracked black pepper and some salt to taste, if needed. Serve with lots of nice, chilled white wine.