Mussels with Mint, Chiles, and Bacon

We have so many mussels in the Seattle area, and I cook them a lot. They’re so simple to prepare! This is a great summer dish to do for dinner parties. Shellfish and bacon are a classic combination, and they are just fantastic here.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 20 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces bacon, cut into ¼? dice

6 small dried chiles, such as Thai bird chiles

3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly

2 pounds fresh mussels, washed and debearded, see note for debearding instructions

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup mint, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Heat a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the bacon. Cook, stirring often, until it renders much of its fat and begins to brown but not crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving any fat in the pan, and set aside.
  2. Add the chiles and garlic to the saucepan, and cook until the garlic begins to brown and the chiles darken. Add the mussels and wine to the pan; cover and cook over medium heat until most of the mussels open. Shake the pan, and continue to cook for another minute. Use a spider strainer to transfer the mussels to a serving bowl (discard any mussels that remain closed). Add the cooked bacon and mint to the liquid in the pan; heat until the mint wilts, then pour the sauce over the mussels. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note

Mussels often come with a “beard,” or protein fiber, attached. Tug it off to remove, then discard. Only cook mussels that have closed shells; discard any that are wide open. If a mussel is slightly open, give it a few taps or squeeze, and it should close on its own. Discard any that do not close.

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