appetizer yield: 4 servings
2 bacon slices, cut into 1/4-inch x 1-inch pieces
1 tsp orange zest, grated (orange part only)
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup dry white wine (like sauvignon blanc)
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 pound Penn Cove Mussels, cleaned & debearded*
salt & pepper
1. In a large saute pan on med-high heat, saute bacon pieces until they start to crisp.
2. Drain off most of the bacon fat, then add zest, orange juice, dijon, white wine, & cream to pan; stir to combine.
3. Continue to cook over med-high heat & add mussels.
4. Cover & let steam over med-high heat 5-10 minutes, until the mussels have opened (discard any that don’t open).
5. Taste sauce & adjust seasoning as needed with salt & pepper.
6. Pour into serving bowl, garnish with orange zest & sea salt; serve with crusty bread to sop up the sauce.
*To clean & debeard mussels: video
1. Visually inspect all mussels; discard any that are chipped, cracked, broken, or open.
2. 30 minutes before cooking, soak mussels for 20 minutes in enough fresh water to cover, mixed with 1 Tbsp cornmeal. (As the mussels filter water, they’ll ingest the cornmeal; this irritation will cause them to expel any sand/grit they may have inside their shells.)
3. Most mussels will have a “beard”, also known as byssal threads. This will look like a bundle of brown threads at the joint where the two halves meet. The best way to remove the beard without killing the mussel it to grasp the beard with a dry towel and sharply tug the beard out & down toward the hinge of the mussel. (Pulling away from the hinge could tear the mussel and kill it prior to cooking.)
4. Remove mussels from water by lifting them out & rinsing in cold water; do not pour the mussels into a strainer as this will pour the expelled sand & cornmeal back onto the mussels.
5. Place the mussels into another bowl full of clean cold water.
6. After soaking, use a firm brush to brush off any additional sand, barnacles , or other odds & ends. Rinse the mussels again under cold water.
7. Pat dry on a towel before cooking.