BRRRRR…… It’s Siberian cold here; it has been that way for the past couple weeks ever since we got 2+ feet of snow. What better mid winter warm-me-up dinner than mussels steamed in kimchi and topped with braised pork belly?
Serves 4 as an entre:
5 lbs mussels
2 cups Kimchi (preferably home made)
3-4 T flour
1/4 cup white wine
braised pork belly
The day before serving the mussels, place them in a large bowl filled with water that has 3-4 T of flour mixed in. This not only purges the mussels but feeds them. After 24 hours, drain and rinse them well.
Put 1 1/2 cups of Kimchi in a large stock pot with the white wine, and bring to a boil. Then add the mussels, cover and cook until the mussels shells open up (less than five minutes). In the meantime, slice the braised, deboned pork belly into narrow strips or slices. Warm them up in a saute pan with a T of olive oil for a couple of minutes, or micro wave them for 45 seconds.
When the mussel shells have opened, drain them in a colander with a bowl underneath to catch the broth. Divide the mussels among the bowls, ladle the reserved kimchi broth into each bowl, and top with the warmed pork belly slices. Slice the remaining 1/2 cup (or more) of kimchi into strips and garnish each bowl. Serve immediately with big pieces of fresh rustic bread.
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Searching for Giant Sea Urchin that cost a Fortune:
Last Saturday night, the 2GMs enjoyed dinner at Bouley in NYC. We opted for the 3 course prix fixe, but the couple next to us chose the chef’s 6 course taster. Their meal started off with a brace of the largest sea urchins I’ve seen east of the Mississippi, billed as Malibu Sea Urchins. I momentarily regretted not going with the chef’s taster. But later, I consoled myself with one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, a chocolate souffle (the other GM had a Mandarin Clementine tart that was truly unbelievable.)
But back to sea urchins. The following morning we stopped by Chelsea Market on the lower west side of Manhattan to purvey at the green grocer, Buon Italia, and the Lobster Place. Amazingly, while at The Lobster Place, we found endless quantities of whole giant California sea urchins, just like the ones I spied the night before at Bouley’s. They were larger than softballs, with a price tag to match. The 2GMs picked out a couple, and once home, back on Eastern Long Island, Rosaria snipped off their tops and plated them. The thing about uni is that no matter how many you have, or how large they are (each of the five lobes of uni roe inside the shell was as big as a person’s tongue!), you just never seem to have enough of that creamy, briny, sweet gold of the sea. After we inhaled them and washed them down with a well chilled muscadet, in addition to not having more sea urchins, I lamented not having another couple of the Mandarin Clementine tarts from the night before to enjoy after our uni.
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