|Mussels with Chorizo and Pasta|
The scene was set for a classic bistro dinner at home. Red checkered tablecloth, bistro wine glasses, lobster napkins at the ready and Edith Pilaf singing La Vie en rose in the background. My intrepid sous chef had even donned his beret a la Mike Grgich for the occasion. The reason: this week’s French Friday’s with Dorie challenge was Mussels with Chorizo (over Pasta, if you chose). Add some crispy pommes frites, as we intended to do, and you had a quintessentially French dish. (OK, maybe the Chorizo added a Spanish twist, and the pasta an Italian bent, but who wants to ruin the image?)
|Ingredients for sauce|
|The start of the sauce|
|Add chorizo - I chose not to chunk mine and make it more of a flavor in the sauce|
Mussels are an edible bivalve whose worldwide consumption is produced ninety percent by aquaculture in places like China, Spain, Italy, Thailand, France and New Zealand. The United States and Canada produce and consume a small portion of mussels, so count us among a vocal minority who very much like this mollusk. But we are mussel traditionalists. We like our mussels cooked and served in a light broth or sauce so the taste of the mussel shines through. Dorie’s challenge produced a chorizo sauce that overwhelmed and drowned out the fresh sea taste of the mussels. However, we found the sauce was quite delicious on its own with a nice balance of fresh flavors. Red bell pepper, garlic, onion, fresh thyme and tomato complimented the spicy chorizo and the consistency was hearty enough to envelope any pasta noodle. When poured over fettuccine it seemed so much healthier and lighter than the traditional Alfredo sauce. This sauce is definitely worth trying with your next batch of pasta!
|A little steam from the mussels|
We paired the dish with a bottle of Alto Moncayo Varaton 2009 Garnacha. A bit of a renegade decision since this is a French dish (so to speak). But since the dish has a Spanish influence, and the mussels were overwhelmed by the sauce anyway, the pairing of shellfish and red wine was neither ingenuous nor a faux pas. In fact, it was a great decision for the wine held up well to the spiciness of the sauce and did not get lost in its bold flavors. At first taste the wine is supple with a hint of sweetness, but then its flavors even out in the middle and it finishes with a bit of dark fruit (cherry, blackberry, strawberry) and minerality. Only 500 cases were made and it is a good value, averaging about $27.95 a bottle. Perhaps a bit of a splurge for the everyday meal, but definitely worthy of a special occasion!
|The finished product (if you like cooking with a glass of wine try Paco & Lola Albarino - it's light and refreshing!)|