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Steamed Mussels with Smoky Bacon

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For Blue Smoke, his New York City barbecue restaurant, Michael Romano buys bacon and other natural pork products from Niman Ranch, in California's Bay Area. There is a significant difference in flavor between conventional and hormone-free meat. Niman Ranch pork, beef, and lamb products are available st some supermarkets and at www.nimanranch.com.

  1. 1/4 pound thick-sliced lean smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  2. 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  3. 1 large jalapeño, thinly sliced crosswise with seeds
  4. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  5. 1/2 pound plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  6. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  7. 2 tablespoons ketchup
  8. 3 1/2 pounds medium mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  9. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  10. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  11. 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  12. Crusty bread, for serving
  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the shallots and jalapeño, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add the wine and ketchup and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the mussels. Cover and cook, shaking the pan a few times, until the mussels open, about 5 minutes.
  2. With a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to 4 large, shallow serving bowls. Remove the casserole from the heat and stir in the lime juice, butter and cilantro. Ladle the sauce over the mussels and serve at once with bread.