MUSSELS IN SPICY SRIRACHA CREAM

1 large baguette

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (including seeds)

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

½-pound kielbasa or chorizo sausage, chopped

4-pounds mussels, beards removed and scrubbed under cold water with a brush

1 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon sriracha sauce*

2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 cups heavy cream

½ teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons cornstarch

¼ cup water

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade – plus more for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the baguette into ½” thick rounds and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil and bake for 8-10 minutes until toasty.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large deep skillet.  Add the onions, jalapeño, and garlic to the pan and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the red bell pepper and kielbasa to the pan and continue to cook, stirring frequently until kielbasa has begun to caramelize, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the mussels to the pan in a single layer and toss to coat with the onion and kielbasa mixture.  Top with the white wine.

Whisk the sriracha, Dijon, and heavy cream together in a bowl and then pour over the mussels.  Toss everything to coat and cover the pan.  Cook until the mussels are just opened, about 5-7 minutes.  Using tongs remove the mussels from the sauce to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the salt to the sauce and bring to a low boil.  Whisk the cornstarch in the water until dissolved and add to the sauce.

Cook stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes until the sauce reduces and becomes thick and silky.  Stir in the basil.

Pour the sauce over the mussels on the platter (or in individual serving bowls).  Garnish with basil leaves and a couple of the toasty crostini and dig in.  Dipping the bread in that sauce is dreamy… just sayin’.

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