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Mussels & Mead Bruschetta

Recipe courtesy of Nicholas Tomasic



1: Simple “Cyser” pickled shallots

Peel 4 shallots and slice them into thin rings then add them to a small jar.

In a small saucepan over medium heat add:

½ cup Cyser Apple Mead

½ cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon whole peppercorns

Heat and stir regularly until the sugar has dissolved and brine is about to simmer.

Pour the brine over the shallots, mix well, add a lid and let cool for 30 minutes.

You can use these once they’ve cooled but flavour will develop with more time.

Will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

2: Roasted red peppers & arugula

Set the oven to broil.

Cut the red pepper in half and remove the stem and seeds.

Lightly brush both sides with olive oil.

Place skin side up on a foiled baking sheet.

Place in the oven on an upper shelf

Broil until the skin is mostly blackened and the flesh is soft, 10-12 minutes.

Remove to cool, then peel off the skins.

Dice the red pepper.

Mix with 1 cup of chopped arugula.

3: Crispy potato straws

Fill a large pot with 2 inches of vegetable oil and turn on to med-high heat.

Wash but don’t peel the large PEI russet potato.

Use the small holes of a cheese grater to shred it.

Transfer the finely shredded potato to a bowl filled with cold water to rinse the starch off.

This will take 2-3 times of rinsing and draining until the water runs clear. Wrap the shredded potato in a cloth towel and squeeze out all of the moisture. Spread the potato straws in a layer across some paper towel for a final dry. When the oil reaches 400F, add all of the shredded potato. When the initial bubbles settle, keep the potatoes moving so they don’t clump. The potatoes will have dropped the temperature of the oil but you want 350F.

Reduce the heat if it’s sitting higher than 350F, increase heat if it’s lower. Keep the potatoes moving and keep an eye on the colour. When the potatoes are a light/golden brown, lift some out to see if they’re crispy. Transfer the finished crispy potatoes to a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle the potato with salt immediately so it sticks to the oil.

4:The mussels

Dice 1 peeled shallot.

Heat a large pan or pot on med-high and add ¼ cup of olive oil.

When the oil is heated, add the diced shallots, keep them moving, 30 seconds.

Add 2 large sprigs of fresh oregano and 2 large sprigs of fresh thyme.

Keep stirring everything in the pan and watch that the shallots don’t burn.

When the shallots start to soften and turn translucent, add ¼ cup “Cyser” Apple Mead.

Once the Mead starts to simmer, 20-30 seconds, add the mussels.

Stir thoroughly then cover with a lid to steam.

The mussels are cooked once they open and they will become drier, smaller, and firmer with more time on the heat.

You want the mussel to hold its shape when removed from the shell so test them and look for a texture that’s pleasant to your taste.

Remove from heat and transfer mussels to a bowl with the cooking broth to cool.

When the mussels are comfortable enough to handle, deshell and place in a bowl.

Discard the shells and strain the reserved mead broth over the mussels.

5: Assembly

Slice the baguette into ½ inch pieces, brush with olive oil and pan fry or broil.

Repeat on both sides so the bread is crispy on the outside and soft in the centre.

Lay out the bread pieces and pour a tablespoon of the mead broth over each.

Add a thin layer of the red pepper and arugula mix.

Add a thin layer of “Cyser” pickled shallots.

Top with 2-3 mussels, spread evenly.

Garnish with a small cluster of crispy potato straws over each mussel.

Add a light squeeze of lemon juice over each piece.

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