Dorie’s recipe read, “mussels and chorizo with or without pasta,” but she failed to mention that serving this dish, whether with pasta or not, would generate accolades and exclamations of, “Wow, this is really amazing!” I served without pasta, but with crusty French baguette, and was happy to be on the receiving end of the expressions of appreciation.
I’ve only eaten mussels a couple of times in my life, and once was in France, so they were good. I had no idea how to cook them, but in the end, this was simple enough. The hardest part was buying the four pounds of mussels. It meant a trek to Whole Foods to buy up all they had, with Gorilla Girl and Monkey Man in tow. Of course, while at Whole Foods, one must purchase any number of exquisite treats that are outside the range of normal eating. So, our before dinner treat was smoked gouda, and tofu with ginger, scallions, and soy sauce–thanks JY for turning us on to this wonderful treat!
The verdict from KDM and JM was that the smokiness of the Spanish chorizo made the mussels smokey, too. They liked this. A special treat was discovering a pieces of chorizo that had lodged in an open mussel. We liked this one a lot, and despite the cost of the mussels, at $5.00 a pound, the rest of the meal was simple, and relatively inexpensive. With a couple of bottles of Spanish wine, this dish really rocked for a leisurely dinner party.
With such a simple meal, I wanted to have a simple dessert. Dorie’s poached pears got my attention, but I wanted something just a bit more fancy. I poached the pears in a bottle of red wine with spices (anise, cinnamon, clove, orange peel, vanilla bean and sugar). When the sauce was boiled down it created a spicy warm syrup to pour over the pears. I had just a little homemade vanilla ice cream left, so we topped the pears with just a taste of the ice cream. It was perfect.
The verdict on this recipe is a resounding let’s do it again. Thanks, Dorie.
To see other versions, check out French Fridays with Dorie.