Steamed Mussels with Coconut-Green Chile Broth and Black Pepper French Fries with Smoked Red Pepper Aioli

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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For the mussels:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 poblano chiles, roasted, seeded, peeled and pureed
2 cups clam broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp honey
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 cup dry white wine
2 lbs cultivated black mussels, beard removed and scrubbed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
3 Tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
French bread, heated, for serving

For the Black Pepper French Fries:
6 large Idaho potatoes, peeled
1 quart vegetable or peanut oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Smoked Red Pepper Aioli:
1 cup prepared mayonnaise, store-bought or home-made
1 small roasted red pepper, peeled, seeded, and pureed
1 Tbsp chipotle in adobo
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the mussels:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the poblano puree and clam broth and cook until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Add the coconut milk and honey and cook until reduced by half.

Transfer the mixture to a blender (rinse out the pan) add the spinach, salt and pepper, to taste, and blend until smooth.

Place the pan back on the stove over high heat. Add the wine to the pot, bring to a boil and reduce by half. Add the green chile broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the mussels, cover the pot and cook until the mussels open, discarding any that do not, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the butter and parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon into bowls, garnish with more parsley, if desired, and serve with bread on the side.

For the French Fries:
Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices then cut each slice into 1/4-inc thick fries. Place the fries in a large bowl of cold water.

Heat the oil in a large, straight-sided skillet to 325 degrees F. Drain fries in batches on paper towels. Fry each batch for 3 to 4 minutes until a pale blonde color and remove to a sheet pan lined with paper towels.

Increase the heat of the oil to 375 degrees F and fry the potatoes again, in batches, until golden brown. Remove to a sheet pan lined with paper towels and season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the Aioli:
Combine the mayonnaise, pepper, chipotle, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Serve the fries with the aioli alongside the mussels.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From Bobby Flay,