And the winner of the Perfect Protein Blogger Contest is…

 After months of cooking and dozens of mouth-watering recipes, we're thrilled to announce the winner of the Perfect Protein Blogger Recipe Contest — Tracey Middlekauff of Tasty Trix!

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Tracey's recipe for Garlicky Mussels with Squid Ink Linguine truly embraced the Perfect Protein guidelines of "Wild, Little, Local, and Shellfish." Featuring not one but TWO Perfect Protein-approved shellfish — mussels and squid – Tracey's dish really represents what The Perfect Protein is all about. 

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Tracey describes her inspiration for the dish: 


I was binge watching Hannibal when I got the idea for this dish. I have always been drawn to fiction that intelligently explores the dark side of human nature and the allure of so-called "evil." Visually the show is lush and cinematic, and Mads Mikkelsen, the actor who plays Hannibal, is a brilliantly unsettling mix of charm, charisma, and creepiness.

I must admit that I take a perverse glee in the lovingly detailed shots of Hannibal cooking complicated Escoffier-style meals in his gourmet kitchen, knowing full well that the main course is more than likely composed of one or more of his victims. (Yes, Poppa Trix has told me I'm a bit crazy, but in a good way. He's not worried, so you shouldn't be either.)

I hope it goes without saying that I never had any intention of featuring any people in my mussels and linguine dish, but I did have visions of a moody, dark, mysterious, and sexy plate of all-black food. I did not, I believe, succeed in that; instead, I think the presentation turned out to be  rather more rustic than sinister.

Ah, well – what really matters is the flavor, yes? And in that I did succeed. I think it's best to keep it simple with a dish like this, and so that's what I did.


 

And now, the recipe: 
3 dozen mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
pinch of saffron threads
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
white pepper, to taste
1 package squid ink linguine
 
Prepare the squid ink linguine to al dente in well salted boiling water. Save 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Steam the mussels in 1/2 cup of the wine and one of the sliced garlic cloves in a large covered pot until they open (6 – 7 minutes). Meanwhile, saute the shallots in butter over medium heat in a sautoir until translucent. Add the garlic; stir for a couple of minutes. Turn up the heat and add the remaining wine, simmer until reduced by half. Add the reserved pasta water, the saffron, and the pasta. Stir to coat. Add the mussels along with their cooking liquid, a pinch of white pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the pot. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately. 

 

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Congratulations, Tracey, this dish looks AMAZING!

 

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