Mussel and bacon salad - Recipes - Food + Drink - The Independent

Mussel and bacon salad

Serves 4

This is simple salad to knock up; and the bigger the mussels the better. You can use a single crisp-leaf salad such as cos hearts or little gems. Or add some tasty small leaves and herbs too.

1kg large mussels

A glass of white wine

200g smoked streaky bacon or pancetta, cut into 1cm dice

A little vegetable or corn oil for frying

4 slices of white bread, cut into 1cm cubes

60g butter

4 heads of little gems

A handful of small salad leaves and herbs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

The wine from cooking the mussels

2tsp Dijon mustard

tbsp white wine or cider vinegar

2tbsp olive oil

2tbsp vegetable oil

1tbsp water

Put the mussels in a large saucepan with the wine and cook on a high heat, stirring every so often, for 3-4 minutes or until all of the mussels are just open. Drain, saving the cooking liquor. Remove the mussels from the shells and put the meat to one side. Simmer the liquor until it reduces to about half a tablespoon and put in a bowl with the mustard, vinegar, oils and water. Season and whisk together to emulsify.

Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring as it's cooking until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon on to a plate. Add the butter to the same pan and cook the bread for a few minutes, turning with a spoon until crisp, then put on kitchen paper.

To serve, toss the little gem leaves in the dressing with half of the mussels and half of the bacon, season and arrange in individual or one large bowl. Scatter the smaller leaves, the rest of the bacon and mussels and croutons on top.

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