Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Smoked Mussel Salad

Recently, both Clare and I were shopping at a relatively new grocery store when we encountered smoked mussels for the first time.  Having worked as a cook in a seafood restaurant, where I steamed many a bucket of mussels, I am quite familiar with this particular species of bivalves.  Yet, neither Clare nor I ever tasted smoked mussels.   There was a little demonstration booth set up in the store where customers could try smoked mussels, along with other smoked seafood, such as smoked salmon and halibut.  Both Clare and I tried a couple and moved on.  However, we found ourselves going back to the booth for me to try some more and to buy a package of smoked mussels to eat at home. 

As we were driving home, my thoughts turned to how could I incorporate smoked mussels into a dish.  I quickly decided to use them in a salad.  Not just any salad, but a salad that also incorporates flavors that complement the smokiness of the mussels.  The salad would include roasted peppers and roasted garlic, both of which provide roasted flavors that work well with the mussels.  I also added fresh Vidalia onions (which can be substituted with sweet onions) to provide a little crunch to what are otherwise soft ingredients.   Add a little cilantro, salt and pepper and the dish is complete. 

SMOKED MUSSEL SALAD
A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
1 package of smoked mussels
1 red sweet pepper, roasted, diced
1 orange sweet pepper, roasted, diced
1 yellow sweet pepper, roasted, diced
2 cloves of roasted garlic
1/4 Vidalia onion, diced finely
1 teaspoon of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste

Directions:
1.  Roast the peppers.  Roast the peppers using the gas elements of your stove.  Blacken all sides of the pepper.  Let it cool and then pull off the blackened skin under running water. 

2.  Roast the garlic.  Roast the garlic by cutting a head of garlic horizontally.  Put it in a sheet of foil, salt and pepper it, and sprinkle some olive oil.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for about fifteen minutes.

3.  Prepare the salad.  Once you have all the roasted components, dice them finely.  Add the diced onion and the mussels.  Mix thoroughly and serve immediately. 

ENJOY!

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