Friday, March 1, 2013

Mussels with Spicy Pork Pasta, Wood Ear Mushrooms, and Baby Bok Choy

Mussels with Spicy Pork Pasta, Wood Ear Mushrooms, and Baby Bok Choy
by Gary Gee
The Wine Dive recommends Simply Naked Moscato to be paired with this dish.

Serves 2

For the Mussels:
2 pounds mussels, clams or a combination
1 cup white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup chicken stock, preferably fresh
2 slices (1/4” size) fresh ginger, peeled
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper

For the Pasta:
Coarse salt
8 ounces linguini

For the Bok Choy:
2 heads baby bok choy
Olive oil
Coarse salt
¼ teaspoon five spice powder

For the Sauce:
¼ pound freshly ground pork
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
White pepper
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup minced smoked tasso ham, preferably Teet’s
1 slice (1-inch size) fresh ginger, peeled, minced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, sliced
1 Tablespoon preserved, salted black beans, rinsed, drained and mashed
2 Thai chile peppers or chile de arbol (to taste)
½ ounce wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated, rinsed and coarsely chopped
½ cup white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
3 cups chicken stock, preferably fresh, divided use
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup warm water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 scallions, white and green portions, sliced

To prepare the mussels: 
Scrub the shells and place them in a large bowl of cold water. Soak for 20 minutes. Remove, rinse and repeat. Drain in a colander. In a large, lidded pot, place the wine, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the mussels, cover and steam for 2 minutes. Stir, and continue cooking just until the mussels open. With a slotted spoon, remove the mussels to a bowl. Discard any unopened mussels. Carefully spoon the cooking liquid from the pot into a dish, leaving any solids and sediment in the pot. Set the mussels and reserved cooking liquid aside and cover.

For the pasta: 
Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

For the bok choy: 
Trim root ends of the bok choy. Slice the heads in half lengthwise. Under cold running water, gently pry the leaves open to rinse away any grit caught between the leaves. Soak the bok choy halves in salted water for 20 minutes. Drain, rinse, and pat dry. Drizzle the cut side with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and five spice powder. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Grill the bok choy, cut side down, for 2 minutes. Rotate 45 degrees and continue grilling for 2 more minutes, until nicely marked. Turn and grill the other side for 2-3 minutes, or until just fork tender. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

To make the sauce: Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a wok or large pot over high heat until shimmering. Add the pork and cook until slightly browned. Break the pork up, add the tasso, and continue cooking until well-browned and slightly crispy. Add the ginger, garlic, shallot, black beans, and chile peppers. Stir-fry until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and toss to combine. Add the wine, 2 cups of chicken stock, sugar, soy and oyster sauces. Bring to a boil. Combine the cornstarch with warm water and add to sauce. Stir until thickened.

To complete the dish: 
Add the reserved mussels to the sauce and toss to coat, adding reserved cooking liquid and/or stock as needed to create a light sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt, pepper and/or soy sauce as needed. Add the cooked pasta, toss, and remove to serving platter. Arrange the grilled bok choy around the dish, drizzle with sesame oil, and garnish with scallions. Serve at once.

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