Mussels With Salsiccia
There is something very primal about eating mussels. You are going to dig in, and you’re going to get your hands dirty. Bread is as much of a utensil as a fork in this case and, quite honestly, that’s my kind of eatin’. There was a time when I would only eat mussels when I dined out, because I was sure there was a trick to making them. But really, there is no easier food to make – they aren’t terribly expensive and you can get as messy as you want when you eat them in the privacy of your own home. The original recipe calls for chorizo, but I really love the extra fennel flavors you get from the salsiccia. So go on, don’t be scared of making mussels at home – here’s a simple and scrumptious way to get started.
Extra virgin olive oil
2 links salsiccia (or other Italian sausage), casings removed
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced (fronds can be used as garnish)
2 cups dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lb. mussels, scrubbed (discard any that do not close when tapped)
• Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet or a pot with a lid over medium heat.
• Add the sausage to the skillet, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. When the sausage is browned, add the garlic and fennel and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the fennel begins to become transparent.
• Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Add the mussels to the pot, cover and cook until they open, usually about 2 to 3 minutes.
• Discard any mussels that did not open.
• Garnish if desired with the fronds of the fennel bulbs, and serve immediately with some crusty French bread.