When I went shopping yesterday I had planned to get mainly vegetarian ingredients to eat vegan for at least a week (not sure I could do the whole Veganuary thing). But I passed by the fish counter and spotted mussels for sale at £3 for a big bag and my plans immediately changed.
I was chatting to the fishmonger and he said how much he loved my accent – I don’t think anyone has said that to me before! Then the lady at the checkout asked how I was going to cook the mussels (cue for a summary of this recipe) so I feel these mussels had already been part of a story before they’d even got home.
Mussels are so cheap and nutritious and with moules marinière you get a restaurant style dish for very little effort. I love the process of cleaning the mussels in cold water – the glistening blue of the shells and the click clack sound as you pour them into the saucepan – it’s as therapeutic for me as meditating. So when you’re cleaning off those mussel beards, get your Zen on and it won’t feel like a chore.
I served the mussels with a side of chips – thinly sliced, doused in a bit of seasoned sunflower oil and baked on greaseproof paper on an oven tray.
The following quantities are good for one main course or two starters. It can make for some messy eating so have some spare bowls for the empty shells and some napkins to hand.
- 500g of mussels
- 25g butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 glass of dry white wine
- Big bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
- About 2 teaspoons of cream or crème fraiche
- Prepare the mussels by cleaning in cold water – pull off the beards and scrape away any barnacles. Discard any mussels that are open.
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan and gently cook the shallot and garlic until soft.
- Add the mussels, white wine and half the parsley. Add a lid and let the mussels steam for about three or four minutes giving the saucepan a shake half way through.
- Serve in big bowls with more fresh parsley.
- Add the cream/crème fraiche to the liquid in the saucepan, bring to the boil to reduce and then pour over the mussels.
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