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Cooking On The Couch: Mussels With Peppers, Chorizo And Fennel

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NEW YORK (WLNY) — Steamed mussels are a popular choice for many seafood lovers, but few are brave enough to try them at home.

The new executive chef at Chelsea hot spot Pounds & Ounces, Jeff Kreisel, stopped by to show us to select and prepare fresh seafood.

Pounds & Ounces is located at 160 Eighth Avenue at the corner of 18th street.

More: NYC’s 11 Best Seafood Sandwiches

Prince Edward Island Mussels with Peppadew Peppers, Chorizo, and Fennel

Ingredients:

About 25 mussels, rinsed, and beards removed
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, or garlic infused oil if available
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 threads of saffron
1/4 cup hot dry chorizo sliced in rounds
1/4 fennel bulb shaved thinly preferably on a Japanese mandoline
1/4 cup of peppadew peppers, or pequillo peppers if unavailable
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
5-6 leaves of Italian parsley and tarragon
2 chives cut into 1/2” batons
Maldon salt or any course sea salt

Method:

Wash and de-beard mussels and keep refrigerated. Add the olive oil to a medium sauce pot with a lid on medium-high. Once oil is hot, add chorizo and brown slightly, releasing some of the red color and flavor into the oil. Next add the shaved fennel and cook for 30 seconds until wilted. Add peppadew peppers, mussels, saffron, and white wine and cover. Let the mussels steam for 2-3 minutes until all have opened. Lastly, add the butter and a pinch of salt. Toss gently to coat mussels with sauce, and place in a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh herbs. Discard any mussels that have failed to open. Serve with french fries or grilled sourdough bread and enjoy!

Tips:
How to buy and prepare mussels
1. Always purchase mussels from a reputable seafood purveyor.
2. If any shells are opened, tap them gently or dunk them in cold water and they should close immediately, if not discard.
3. Store mussels in the coldest part of the refrigerator covered with a damp cloth or seaweed, not covered with ice or water.
4. Rinse in cold water and remove the “beard” threads before cooking.
5. The most common way to cook mussels is by steaming them with a bit of wine. They can however be pan roasted, grilled, and served chilled after steaming.
6. To get the most flavor I always cook down some aromatics like garlic, fennel, ginger, saffron, or peppers, then add either wine, pernod, or beer and wait until the alcohol cooks off before adding the mussels.
One of my favorite recipes including rendering down some Spanish chorizo first, then cooking the aromatics in the chorizo oils. I add shaved fennel, roasted garlic, pepadew peppers, saffron and a splash of white wine. As soon as the mussels open I add a bit of butter so thicken up all those flavors into a delicious sauce. I top them off with an herb salad of parsley, tarragon, and chives and serve with grilled sourdough bread or French fries.