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Thursday, 3 March 2011

a fool for moules

It was a only a few years ago, in a street cafe in Lille, that I first tried mussels or moules. I loved them instantly and wondered why I had waited so long before trying them. While I've been off on my holidays at home I been cooking more than usual and tried, for the first time, to cook some at home.

The Internet was a good source of 'how to cook' advice as well as a couple of books borrowed from my neighbour namely; The River Cottage Fish book and Fish by Sophie Grigson and William Black. I went for the simplest approach although I was tempted by a very peppery Italian cooking method.

Firstly I washed my bag of rope grown moules and discarded any broken or open shells. I gave each mussel a good clean and pulled off the beards. I gave 'em another wash and put them aside. Next I peeled four whole cloves of garlic and chopped up a small bunch of fresh flat leaved parsley.

In a deep pan I popped in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and once hot added four cloves of garlic and a finely chopped leek. These browned very quickly. I was a bit nervous about adding half a bottle of white wine to hot oil ( I could see a flash fire happening) so I emptied most of the hot oil away being careful not to lose any of the leek and garlic. I don't know if I did right but it seemed sensible.

Now the exciting part! In went the white wine, a whole half bottle, and then the mussels clattered into the pan. I tossed in the chopped parsley and gave it all a big stir before popping on the lid for ten minutes.While the moules steamed away I sliced up half of a baguette and poured myself a glass of white wine.

After the steaming I opened the lid and the sight and aroma was fab! I tipped the shells and their golden little chewy gems into a deep dish, reduced the liquor, and bathed the still steaming mussels in the delicious soup of garlic, leek, white wine and parsley.They were lovely and I particularly enjoyed mopping up the juices with the chunks of bread.

all finished


Peter said...

Aaah, sounds good. I love mussels too. They're so versatile. Cooked simply as you did Phil, but equally good in thai curries, added to meat pies, served up with beef, or on a tray with mushy peas, pie and gravy! Yep, that works too.

I used to live at the coast and we regularly collected fresh mussels and cockles - which are equally as good.

Karen said...

I used to love mussels, but a few years ago I went through a phase of eating them far too regularly, & one night made a very rich recipe where, after a similar method to yours, I added a generous slosh of double cream, & then ate far too much of the result. No ill effects, but I just felt full for days. And I haven't had them since.

Gailsman said...

Never tried them either. Seems a lot of effort for very little

Jean said...

It isn't actually that much effort for so much joy, I have found. Not that we cook them very often. The last recipe we used was in our book that we leave in France and it was dead easy and absolutley gorgeous but very similar to yours.

Once in a restaurant we saw someone methodically line up all the discarded shells, spoon-fashion, in a ring around the edge of the plate. Very neat and tidy. I just pile em up !!

Phil Lowe said...

Peter: I like the sound of mussles in a Thai curry and also in the pie and gravy with mushy peas. Yum.

Phil Lowe said...

Karen: That's a shame Karen. Maybe give them another go with a simpler, less rich, recipe.

Phil Lowe said...

Gailsman: a lot of effort for very little? Noooo! They are worth every second.

Phil Lowe said...

Jean: I could just picture that person lining them up. Hilarious.