Saturday, March 26, 2016

{Gluten-Free} Mussels Casino + 2013 La Folette Pinot Noir

Most people go on vacation and go out to eat. Not me. I always make sure I have a full kitchen because vacation is a time when I get to catch up on my cooking to-do list. Tonight, after five hours on the road, I opened a bottle of La Folette Pinot Noir and made a gluten-free mussels casino.

"You can't go wrong with bacon, Mom," noted the Precise Kitchen Elf.

Yep. You're right. Bacon, shallots, and parmesan cheese are a magical combination.

  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned 
  • 2 shallots, peeled and diced
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 C gluten-free bread crumbs*
  • 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 T fresh parsley, chopped + more for serving
  • 1-2 T olive oil + more for drizzling
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon and shallots until the fat is rendered and the shallots are caramelized. Move them to a medium mixing bowl.

Place the mussels in the same skillet with 1 C water. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and cook for five minutes. Drain the mussels.

Add bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and parsley to the bacon-shallot mixture. Add enough oil to make the breadcrumb mixture stick together.

Spoon the breadcrumbs onto each mussel and press firmly to pack the filling into the shell. Place flat on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes - until the breadcrumbs are toasted and the cheese melted.

Serve immediately with a sprinkle of more parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

*NOTE: I used Ian's Natural Foods Gluten-Free Bread crumbs and found them a little too crunchy and hardy. I'm thinking about using a nut meal instead next time. But, if you have any suggestions on a different brand of gluten-free bread crumbs, I would love a recommendation.

The Wine

I had a bottle of Greg La Follette's 2013 Pinot Noir I've been wanting to try. This comes from two family-owned, organically-farmed vineyards in Mendocino County. This was a beguiling wine - and surprisingly delicate for a Pinot Noir. It was simultaneously sweet - think vanilla bean - and earthy - think morel mushroom. It was smooth and subtle. My only complaint: it went down a little too easily! Maybe that has something to do with me being on vacation; I wasn't shy about a second glass of wine! Cheers.

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