Angry Mussels

Lately one of my favorite things to eat has been mussels. For so long I never even gave them a second thought as something I would make at home. Turns out, they are suuuuper stupidly simple and cheap and really really tough to f up. Don’t believe me? Try it. Now, they’re great as they are, steamed in a little bit of white wine. But what would make them better? Do I really have to answer that?.. yeah, you guessed it – bacon. If there’s one food equation you can almost always count on it’s that shellfish + bacon = amazing.

I was watching the Food Network one night and at some point someone mentioned JCT Kitchen in Atlanta and their Angry Mussels. I was only half paying attention but as soon as I heard that the mussels were cooked with a heap of bacon I tuned in solid. After a bit of searching on the web I learned that this joint cooks their mussels with a load of bacon and fresh chilis. Bacon = no problem – always on hand. I was without fresh chilis so I kinda just riffed on the idea of spicy, bacony mussels.

I decided that the best way to go about it would be to render down a bunch of bacon, remove it and sautee some aromatics (garlic, red onions and the whites of some scallions) in the smokey rendered fat. Along with that I added some crushed red pepper flakes and a little bit of cayenne to spice it up.

I rendered the bacon and sauteed the aromatics in the fat. Got the pan hot, tossed in the mussels and a good glug of dry white wine. Threw on a lid and simmered for about 5 minutes. Removed to a bowl, tossed in the bacon, topped with green onion tops and got out the bread to sop up the juice. The liquid that cooks out of the mussels mixed with the wine, bacon, chilis and all that other good stuff makes for some seriously awesome flavor.

Angry Mussels
Adapted from JCT Kitchen

1lb mussels
1 cup dry white wine
1″ thick slab of bacon, diced (or equivalent in sliced bacon)
1/2 red onion
3 green onions
1 seranno chili or a good pinch of crushed red pepper
some good bread

See above for *detailed* steps. Or just sautee, steam and eat. Way too easy.

And satisfaction.

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3 Responses to Angry Mussels

  1. Agreed! Buckets and buckets of steamed mussels in wine, bacon and chili flakes. Perfection!

  2. Felice Kerr says:

    Sounds great. I saw it on food net work and I going to try it with Chorizo today insead of bacon.

  3. andrewmoizer says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I made “Angry” mussels for the second time last night. My father-in-law & I ended up eating, and *really* enjoying all 6 pounds of mussels in the box I got. I’m still tweaking my version. I added a lump of butter (which I seem to recall from another recipe or the TV episode) to the third batch yesterday & it really made the “juice” something special.

    I’m also considering trying cooking the mussels with the lid off (or ajar) to help reduce down the juice. There seems to be a lot of liquid come out of the mussels when they cook.

    The good news is that every experiment requires eating mussels :-).

    Thanks Again.


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