Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mussel and Anchovy Salad with Cilantro Pomegranate Vinaigrette

     A Bold Tasting Mediterranean Style Salad!
     Trying to please the masses results in creating only middle of the road flavors.  Creating food that appeals to a niche market definitely has its benefits.  Designing a recipe for anchovy fans is something that few chefs do, yet the umami flavor trend has been going strong in recent years.  Anchovies are the epitome of umami flavor!
     Cheap canned anchovies taste very salty and they have a strong fishy flavor.  Cheap anchovies are what turns most people off.  There is a world of difference between cheap anchovies and premium quality anchovies.  Good imported anchovies from Italy have a mellow umami flavor that is not overly salty.  Premium anchovies are usually packed in glass jars with good olive oil.  It is important to keep in mind that the better the quality of the anchovies, the better today's salad will be!
     *This entire recipe yields 1 petite salad!

     Poached Mussels:
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of water in a sauce pot.
     Add sea salt and 5 black peppercorns.
     Add 1 crushed garlic clove.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of crushed red pepper.
     Add 1 slice of lemon.
     Step 2:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil over medium heat.
     Add 4 cleaned large Blue Mussels.
     Boil the mussels till the shells open.
     Step 3:  Drain the liquid off of the mussels.
     Cool the mussels in ice water.
     Remove the mussels from the shells.
     Chill the mussels in a refrigerator till they are needed.

     Cilantro Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
     Pomegranate Vinegar was easy to find a few years ago.  If none is available, then flavor some white wine vinegar with a little bit of pomegranate syrup.   
     Step 1:  Place 1 tablespoon of Pomegranate Vinegar in a small bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced cilantro.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and coarse ground black pepper.
     Let the ingredients stand for 5 minutes.
     Step 2:  Combine 2 tablespoons of pomace olive oil with 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
     Slowly add the olive oil mixture to the vinegar mixture while constantly stirring to make a loose vinaigrette.
     Set the vinaigrette aside for 10 minutes.
     Stir before serving.

     Mussel and Anchovy Salad with Cilantro Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
     Step 1:  Mound 1 1/2 cups of chopped romaine lettuce on the center of a plate.
     Place 8 thin plum tomato slices on the plate around the lettuce.
     Place 8 thin long triangle carrot slices between the tomato slices, so they point outward from center.
     Step 2:  Place the 4 chilled poached mussels on top of the salad.
     Drape 4 large pimiento strips vertically over the lettuce.
     Drape 4 anchovy filets vertically over the lettuce.
     Step 3:  Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the Cilantro Pomegranate Vinaigrette over the salad and tomato carrot garnish.
     Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

     The combination of cilantro, lime and pomegranate in the vinaigrette add crisp bright accent to the rich umami flavor!

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