Gary loves mussels…he loves a good broth filled with savory flavors, rich butter and a hearty dose of either beer or wine….and always a touch of chorizo. We have travelled to various parts of the country, and the world, and Gary will usually order and often enjoy a steaming bowl of mussels, but if they don’t have that chorizo they are lacking. We were in one of our favorite places in the world, The Four Seasons Hualalai watching sunset with a bottle of Chateau Montelena Cabernet, truffled ricotta flatbread and mussels in a tomato beer broth, and though they were excellent…no chorizo. Gary commented to our precious waitress Cheri, who was so excited the next time we were in later that week that the chef had added a special to the menu….mussels and clams in a chorizo tomato broth. Gary was one happy customer that night!
My family was in town last week and we cooked two nights of feasts for them, starting the first night with perfect sun-dried tomato risotto that would have made Tom Colicchio proud, as the creamy, cheesy rice spread the second it hit the plate; and I made mussels with lots of fennel, wine and of course, chorizo.
Mussels with Fennel, Tomato and Chorizo in White Wine
2 pounds of live mussels – scrubbed and de-bearded, kept on ice until ready to cook
1 small white onion – chopped
3 large cloves garlic – chopped
1 carrot – diced
2 ribs celery – diced
2 scallions (white and light green part only) – chopped
1 large bulb fennel – chopped fine; save about 2 tablespoons of fennel frawns for garnish
1 can fire roasted (for a smoky flavor) or regular diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 tablespoon dried Herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup stock (if you have fish stock, use fish stock, if not use chicken stock, water or can be omitted…we like lots of stock)
1 fully cooked chorizo sausage, casing removed and chopped into 1/4 inch chunks
In a large Dutch oven heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add all of the fresh vegetables, except the scallions, and cook until they become soft, about 8 minutes. Add the dried herbs and about 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper. Continue cooking. Add the tomatoes and fresh herbs. Cook to incorporate. Add the scallions, wine and stock. Bring to a boil then to a low simmer. This can sit until ready to cook the mussels. When ready to cook the mussels, bring back up to medium heat and add the mussels. Cook in a covered pot for about 5-7 minutes, until the mussels have opened. Just before serving stir in the chorizo. Discard any mussels that do not open and serve with lots of crusty bread for dipping.