Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mussel time

They say that calm seas do not a skilled mariner make, and so with the hurly burly of family life and notable absence of an IT department my fledgling blogg has suffered.

But I am guessing that I am not the Lone Ranger in having an erratic ebb and flow of domestic demands. “We’ve been so busy” seems to be the all encompassing excuse that blurts out so easily these days. And I get it, I really do. There are bills to be paid and mouths to feed and only so many hours in a day that one can indulge in pretty picture and jaunty new recipes.

Times like this call for instant gratification, and I happen to think that nothing pleases the senses more than a big bowl of steaming fresh mussels. I am a tactile creature, and whilst shell fish may not be every ones first choice to regain culinary momentum, I just love their holiday like rhythm of preparation.

First comes the simple and repetitive diddling about with scrubbing and debearding, and actually that’s about as difficult as things get. Then its just a quick (less than 5 min) hot sauna in a boozy juice before being served in a large bowl that invites busy fingers to uncover the plump juicy jewels of meat.

It is not a meal that can be hurried and one that demands a certain level of joyous and enthusiastic participation. As the discarded shells pile up, the juices dribble down your fingers and conversation bubbles freely it becomes abundantly clear that it is impossible not to love a meal that takes longer to eat than it does to cook.


Mussels in white wine

One of the perks of living in New Zealand is the cheap and fabulously good supply of beautiful vibrant green lipped mussels.


1.5 kg cleaned mussels

30 g butter

1 large shallot fined chopped

1 clove of garlic

1 sprig of thyme

1 cup of dry white wine

 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley


Scrub and de beard mussels. Discard any that have broken shells or do not close when tapped. Cover and refrigerate until required.
To cook the mussels: In large pan melt butter, add chopped shallot, garlic and thyme. Cook over a moderate heat until softened. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil.
Over a high heat add the mussels to the wine bath. Cover with a tight fitting lid and give the pan a good shake to ensure an even distribution. Cook for 3-4 minutes by which time the shells should have opened (if not give them another minute or two).
Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices and a big old rustic bowl for the shells. Keeping with the NZ theme; a cheeky little sav blanc goes rather magnificently too!!

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