Happy Tuesday. First off, I want to give a big thank you for the overwhelming support I got these past fews days since updating my “About Me” page. Your messages really touched my heart and mean the world to me. I’m still a little surprised that anyone even reads my blog, let alone enjoys it. Seriously, thank you.
Now for the recipe. This past Saturday, Mark from Mark’s Daily Apple posted a Coconut Lime Mussels recipe. I glanced at it but didn’t pay much attention. However on Sunday, while I was out getting groceries, Jake messaged me asking if I could give it a go. So I grabbed 1 lb of mussels and came home.
But last night as I was looking at the recipe and then what I had in my fridge, I decided to do something a little different.
Coconut Bacon Mussels over Spicy Spinach
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped bacon
- 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 lb mussels, scrubbed and beared
- 3 cups of spinach
- Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (Add more or less depending on how you like spicy)
First you need to scrub your mussels clean. I put them in a strainer and ran cold water over them. Then I took them one by one and scrubbed the shell. There might be some stringy thing hanging out of the shell. That’s the “beard.” You want to tear that off. I tried using a knife but it was much easier just to pull with my hand. By the way, thought I should mention that these suckers are still alive. Was mildly freaked out about this but since they don’t really snap or move, it wasn’t so bad.
In your pot, first saute your chopped shallots in your coconut oil for about 2 minutes. Then throw in your bacon. (I used something called “Bacon ends and bits” from Trader Joe’s. I do not recommend it. Way too much fat for my taste). Cook for about 5 minutes until the bacon is browned. Then add your garlic and ginger. Saute for an additional 2 minutes.
Add your coconut milk. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, then add your mussels. Cover and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, until your mussels open.
Not pictured: While the mussels are cooking, heat up some olive oil in a pan. Add your spinach. Don’t worry about it looking like it’s going to overflow, it will wilt down really quickly. Should take about 3 minutes tops. Keep folding the spinach over so it doesn’t burn. Then add your red pepper flakes and turn off the heat.
Check your mussels. If any of them didn’t open, throw them out. The theory is that if they don’t open, it’s because they were dead and have been rotting on the inside. Granted, some people disagree and think it’s fine to eat them. But I’d prefer not to take any chances. Thankfully all of mine were open so it didn’t matter.
Fork some of your spinach into a bowl. Then spoon some mussels, bacon and the broth on top.
Now I have to have a disclaimer, I was not a huge fan of the mussels. But it isn’t because I didn’t like my recipe. In fact, the baconed broth over the spinach was amazing. It was just the mussels themselves. My theory is they weren’t very good mussels in the first place. I bought them from Jewel-Osco, which probably means those suckers have been sitting for G-d knows how long. Plus when I was washing them, they smelled terrible. Not sure if that’s normal, or if that means something is up.
I went back and forth about sharing this recipe but decided in the end I should (obviously). If you give it a shot, let me know how you like it. I might give it another try with fresher mussels next time (if there is such a thing in Chicago).