Here it is, that time of year where people of the northern hemisphere start grabbing their scarfs, mittens, down jackets and armfuls of firewood to keep father winter at bay. For many, bundling up and embracing the heat is the only way to avoid uncontrollable shaking and teeth rattling, as well as avoiding frost bite. All this cold screams for food that sticks to our insides, providing additional layers of warmth to keep us going through the winter. This is the season most of us are living in for the next few months.
Down here in Florida, we also experience “cold” weather, albeit a little less than the rest of the world. Our temperatures might not see anything south of 45 F, but we still get chilly and do what it takes to keep warm. Yes, we may be wearing our shorts and flip flops with long-sleeves sweatshirts, but we are not crazy. When the weather gets a bit low for us, we still pine for the comfort foods of wintertime but we are not subject to confining ourselves to our homes. Florida’s weather provides us with the opportunity to celebrate warm comfort foods associated with the cold weather and still be able to have fun outdoors.
Below is a quick and easy recipe I often turn to when the weather has not extinguished my drive to be outside or my passion for fire grilling. I will prepare this as a buffet appetizer for a large gathering of friends on the back patio or at a tailgate party, using nothing more than my charcoal grill and a good sauce pot. It is also a perfect dish for two, when my wife and I have loads of holiday shopping to do and not much time to prepare a full meal. The first components: the charred linguica, cherry tomatoes and fennel, along with the buttered sea salt baguettes, can be prepped ahead of time and warmed when the mussels are ready for serving. A nice garnish of fresh parsley helps round out the flavor and adds just a bit of acid to the heavy cream and generous amount of butter. I commonly serve this dish with a nice Albariño or a Mencia.
Happy eating and stay warm! I know I will, next to the grill.
Recipe: Mussels in White Wine Broth with Charred Linguica, Cherry Tomatoes and Fennel served with Grilled Buttered Sea Salt Baguettes
Roasted Linguica, Cherry Tomato and Fennel
- 2 oz/60g Olive Oil
- 16 oz/450g Linguica, skins removed and medium slice
- ½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 8 oz/225g Cherry Tomatoes
- 4 oz/115g Fresh Fennel, thin sliced
- 1 oz/30g Fresh Parsley, chopped
Grilled Buttered Sea Salt Baguettes
- 2 Baguettes, sliced lengthwise into 6 inch pieces
- 6 oz/170g Whole Butter
- 1 oz/30g Sea Salt
Red Wine Broth Mussels
- 3 oz/85g Olive Oil
- 12 oz/340g Whole Butter
- 8 oz/225g Yellow Onions, medium dice
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 oz/60g Fresh Garlic
- 32 oz/910g Mussels, washed and cleaned
- 16 oz/450g White Wine
- 4 oz/115g Heavy Cream
Light the charcoal briquettes and burn until a light ash appears on the outer rim of the briquettes.
If using a gas grill, preheat on medium-high heat.
Roasted Linguica, Cherry Tomato and Fennel
- Combine the olive oil, linguica, cherry tomatoes and fennel in a bowl and mix until incorporated.
- Season with crushed red pepper flakes.
- Carefully place the linguica, cherry tomatoes and fennel on the grill and cook until pieces are slightly charred around the edges.
- Remove from the grill, toss with fresh parsley and reserve warm for future use.
Grilled Sea Salt Baguettes
- Slather the cut side of the baguettes with butter and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place baguettes over hot coals and grill until the bread is marked.
- Remove from the grill and reserve warm for future use.
White Wine Broth Mussels
- Place a stock pot over the coals, then add olive oil and two ounces of the butter.
- Add yellow onions and smoked paprika, and sauté until onions are translucent.
- Add fresh garlic and stir mixture until the garlic is very lightly browned.
- Add mussels and stir to incorporate all items.
- Add white wine to the pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
- Continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid, add heavy cream and stir to incorporate.
- Place the lid back on and continue to cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and check that the mussels have opened.
- While stirring, slowly add small pieces of the remaining butter to the pot until all butter is used.
- Remove mussels from heat.
- Place several mussels into a ceramic bowl, with the open mouths of the mussels pointing up.
- Add a spoonful of charred linguica, tomato, fennel mix into the center of the mussels.
- Using a ladle, pour the broth on top of the mussels and linguica mix.
- Place a piece of the buttered sea salt baguette on top.
- Garnish with fresh sprig of parsley.
If you have any questions about this recipe or food safety and culinary training, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about in-flight catering, contact email@example.com.