Bacon? Who needs bacon when you've got chorizo?
"Everything tastes better with chorizo," says Isabel Laessig of Dunedin who blogs at familyfoodie.com and is the founder of the #SundaySupper movement. (Join them at 7 p.m. ET every Sunday for a live Twitter chat.)
She is certainly right about her recipe for Portuguese Mussels and Shrimp in Chorizo Sauce, which gets a lot of flavor from the cured sausage.
Laessig is a native of Portugal, having moved to the United States with her family as a young child. So, she knows about chorizo, a sausage with roots in the Iberian Peninsula.
You can get fresh chorizo, which has to be cooked, but for this recipe you wanted the cured version. You'll find it in the same area at the grocery that stocks pepperoni.
Portuguese and Spanish chorizo get their spiciness from paprika, while Mexican chorizo is fueled by chile peppers. Either way, the sausage, along with tomato paste, colors the wine broth a deep red.
Mussels cook fast and these days are mostly cleaned when you buy them so you don't have to debeard them. You should, however, discard any mussels that don't offer after they have cooked.
This is a simple recipe but the key, Laessig says, is to having some sturdy bread to sop up the broth. I didn't have a tomato so I left that ingredient out but I think that would have been a good addition. I'll do that next time because the tomato contributes more texture and just looks good. Laessig uses Portuguese vinho verde for the broth, but I found a Spanish albarino that added the medium-bodied boost.
I served the mussels with a green salad and there wasn't a scrap of anything left at the end of the meal.
Portuguese Mussels and Shrimp in Chorizo Sauce
⅓ cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small chorizo, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 large tomato, seeds removed and diced
1 bay leaf
6 ounces tomato paste
½ (750-ml) bottle medium-bodied white wine, such as albarino or chenin blanc
1 pound mussels
1 pound shrimp, peeled
⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat a heavy pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Pour olive oil into pan, making sure there is enough to coat the bottom generously.
Add minced garlic, chorizo, diced green pepper and the diced tomato and simmer until slightly browned.
Add bay leaf, tomato paste and wine and stir on medium heat until sauce is blended well
Add mussels and shrimp and cover pot. Cook on medium for 8 to 10 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels.
Sprinkle with parsley and salt and pepper and stir until well blended.
Serves 3 to 4, with bread for sopping up sauce.
Source: Adapted from Isabel Laessig, familyfoodie.com