One of the signs of spring around here seems to be the big bags of spinach that the produce guy is throwing at me. I don’t know what makes him so mad… spinach makes a wonderful ingredient in salads and stuffing, as well as a stand-alone side. So lets put those bags of spinach to good use.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 40 Prince Edward Island mussels or other high-quality mussels
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 baguette, sliced on the diagonal into eight ¼-inch-thick pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 2 cups canned tomatoes with their juice, crushed
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- Sea salt
- 1 cup Duck Walk white wine
- ½ bunch fresh spinach, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Clean the mussels by scrubbing well under cold running water and removing any beards. Drain well, transfer to a large bowl, and refrigerate.
Pour 1/2 cup of the olive oil into a shallow baking dish. Lay the bread slices in the oil and turn once to coat both sides. Toast the bread for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice, or until golden brown and crisp. Transfer the croutons to a plate to cool.
Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil into a large sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the mussels, tomatoes, and pepper flakes and season with salt to taste. Stir well and cook for about 15 minutes.
Add the wine and spinach, cover, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until all the mussels open. Discard any that do not open! Really, no joking here… bad mussels go bad in a bad bad way.
Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large serving bowl. Garnish with spinach leaves and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Stud the bowl with the croutons and serve.