Curry Mussels and a Little o' Bacon / by Alice Zhao

mussels, ready for a steamy night
When you go to a restaurant, mussels always seem to be a moderately pricey dish. But apparently, making it at home ends up being extremely affordable, "cheap" I might even say. From a $3.99 bag of mussels, came a dish made for kings! So, Jared has recently been adding bacon to our sauteed greens for the saltiness and smoky flavor it imparts; he figured he could use the same type of sauces with the mussels. And let me tell you, it yielded unbelievable results!
Many people don't like to prepare seafood, mostly because it smells fishy or feels slimy. But mussels are actually quite simple to prepare and super easy to clean. When you're ready to cook them, open the bag of mussels and place it in a big bowl with water. Most of the time, the mussels are cleaned, so there is no need for heavy scrubbing. Jared usually pulls a few out and rubs it with his fingers and runs it under some water. If the beard is sticking out of the mussels, pull it out.
At this point you want to start picking out the dead mussels (there's bound to be a few). While you are cleaning them, it's ok to keep around the closed-shell mussels. There's about a 50/50 chance that they are still alive. Keep the closed ones and move onto the next. If the shell is opened, you can give each shell a gentle squeeze. If the mussel is alive, it will clam up or move a little. If it doesn't move at all, toss it. You shouldn't risk eating dead mussels- one bad mussel can ruin the whole dish! Also if the shell is cracked, toss it. Now all the mussels in your bowl should be closed. When you're cooking the mussels, each one should open up if they were alive going in. If the mussels remain closed after cooking, then toss those too.

And without further delay... the recipe for curry mussels with a little o' bacon!

1 bag of mussels (cleaned and de-bearded)
1/2 onion (diced)
2 strips of bacon (chopped)
1 tsp curry powder
1 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp sugar
Salt & pepper to taste
1 handful of baby spinach (optional)
Parsley (Chopped)
  • In a sauce pan, heat on medium heat and add the chopped bacon
  • Render the fat out of the bacon
  • Remove the bacon and set aside
  • Spoon out the fat, leaving about 1 tbsp worth
  • Add the diced onion and curry powder and sautee until the onion is translucent
  • Add the mussels, garlic, spinach and deglaze with the wine and turn the heat to high
  • Place a lid on the pan and steam the mussels for 7 mins or until the mussel opens up
  • Add the cream, sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve the mussels in a big bowl and sprinkle the bacon bits and chopped parsley on top
And as usual, every time we make mussels, we grilled some French bread and used it to sop up all the mouthwatering sauce. Oooh la la.

Curry Mussels with Bacon
Note: if you don't plan on eating the mussels right away, store in the fridge with a damp paper towel over it. Putting them in a bowlful of water will drown them and leave you with a bowl of stinky dead mussels. It should be able to keep in the fridge a day or two.