This week, Rania Harris is visiting the Pittsburgh Today Live kitchen. She’s using just five ingredients and turning them into a gourmet meal!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Mussels a la Rania

4 pounds fresh mussels
¼ cup olive oil
2 – 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 bottles clam juice
½ cup white wine

¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

One loaf Italian semolina bread, sliced 1-inch thick on the bias, grilled

Add the mussels to a large bowl with cold water. Taking one at a time, scrub them well all over with a clean scrubbing brush, strip away any beard and place them in a colander. Repeat the process with each one and make sure they are all sealed tightly. Should any mussel be open, tap it on surface twice; if it doesn’t close, discard it. Rinse all mussels well one more time when you have them all prepped and set them aside.

In a large pot, add the oil and the butter along with the shallots. Turn the heat to medium and sauté until they become fragrant and the shallots become translucent, about 4 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until the garlic softens. Add in the clam juice and wine and allow the mixture to reduce slightly, about 2 – 3 minutes

Add the cleaned mussels and stir them around with the shallot mixture. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Cook until all of the mussels have opened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from the heat, then add the parsley and stir to incorporate. Plate the mussels in a large serving bowl surrounded by the grilled bread.

Serves: 4

Figs with Vanilla Ice Cream and Aged Balsamic Vinegar

12 firm-ripe fresh figs, trimmed and halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Vanilla bean ice cream
Balsamic vinegar syrup (see below)

Preheat broiler.

Arrange figs, cut sides up, in a large shallow baking pan. Sprinkle sugar evenly over fruit and broil 2 to 3 inches from heat until most of sugar is melted and deep golden in places, 3 to 5 minutes.

Immediately serve figs over ice cream, drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Serves: 4

To make balsamic syrup:

Pour about 1 cup of good quality balsamic vinegar in a small pot and bring to a boil. Be careful that it doesn’t boil over. Lower the heat to a simmer and allow the mixture to reduce until it comes to a syrup – when it cools, it should resemble the same consistency of honey. Be very careful, as once it starts to reduce to the honey like consistency, it can burn easily. I know this very well as it’s happened to me!

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