So far April has been a relatively warm month. With three days within the last week having hovered around 80F, the unseasonably warm weather is probably a harbinger of summer stickiness. Since I have been highly unsuccessful at house swapping with anyone from the southern hemisphere for the summer, and since today is cooler and rainy, I thought that I would enjoy some mussels before I will start having to worry about the summer heat increasing the likelihood of gastro-Russian roulette.
Mussels with Bacon, Sherry, and Rosewater
1 cup sherry
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 strips of bacon, diced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp rosewater
crushed red pepper
parsley, for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Cook bacon in a large saucepan until crispy over medium heat. Add butter and garlic and cook until just before garlic starts to take on any color. Pour in sherry and rosewater. Bring to a boil and add crushed red pepper. Reduce to a simmer and add mussels. Cook, covered, until mussels have opened. Move mussels to a bowl. Season broth to taste (if too salty from the bacon, a good squirt of honey is a nice touch). Ladle broth over mussels and garnish with parsley.
Did I mention it was for 30 people? A new personal record. Everything turned out really well. I have mention that none of this would have ever been even near possible without my good friend Evan, who worked on this menu for many hours, bought a ton of groceries, and with whom it was an absolute pleasure to cook alongside again. And also to Kyle, who took the photo at the top of this post as well as risked permanently dying his hands red as he sliced the beets. Well done, Kyle.
And thanks to all who showed up! I'm so glad to be able to share what I love with so many great friends all at one time!
Around these parts, the following are all highly accurate and precise descriptors of measurements: 'fistfuls', 'a few glugs', 'as desired', 'to taste', and my most favorite of all 'some'. Cooking is best done when it is by feel, not by measuring cups. Not sure how much oil or carrots to use? At what temperature should you roast tomatoes? Or a pork shoulder? Give it your best go and see where it takes you.