lb PEI mussels, rinsed and debearded
slices bacon, medium dice
small onion, finely diced
red pepper, finely diced
garlic cloves, minced
tsp smoked paprika
cup dry vermouth or white wine
cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese
tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot with a lid bring ½ cup of water to a boil over high heat, once boiling add mussels. Cover and cook mussels for 2 – 4 minutes, shaking the pot to stir the mussels a few times. Once most of the mussels have opened, transfer mussels to a bowl to cool. Once cool enough to handle, detach each mussel from shell and place back in, discard top shell. Discard any unopened mussels. Place mussel halves on a scrunched up piece of foil to keep the shells steady on a large baking tray.
Heat a large pan over medium high heat, once hot, add bacon and cook for 4 – 6 minutes until it is starting to crisp. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and red pepper, cook for 3 – 4 minutes, add smoked paprika, cook for 1 minute. Deglaze pan with vermouth and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl mix together breadcrumbs, parsley, pecorino romano and 1 tbsp olive oil, season with pepper.
Top each mussel with a spoonful of the bacon pepper mixture and then sprinkle over breadcrumbs.
Heat the broiler to high. Broil for 2 – 3 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden and the mussels are hot. Serve hot.
Mussels can be assembled a day in advance with the bacon pepper mixture and kept in the refrigerator. Just before broiling, sprinkle over breadcrumb mixture.
To keep mussels upright on a baking tray, crumble up a tin foil sheet to keep them stable.
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