I have some incredibly fond memories of mussels right by the sea in Brittany on holiday with my family. Even though they don’t look particularly appetising when you first buy them, all beardy and covered in limpets, they scrub up very well.
They’re also incredibly easy to cook, and they look pretty impressive when served.
First, make the skinniest chips you can. I like to chop potatoes into matchsticks while I’m heating up some oil in a roasting dish in the oven. Rinse the matchstick potatoes to get rid of the starch, just until the water runs clear, and them tip them into the hot oil, salt and pepper them, then pop them into the oven. I think this way is probably a little healthier than deep frying, I certainly get to keep tabs on the amount of oil I’m using this way.
Leave them for about half an hour, and then get on with the mussel debearding and cleaning. Definitely THROW AWAY any that are open, and don’t close when you give them a sharp tap, and pop them under cold running water.
At the very end, your chips should look like this:
The flash is making them look a little pale, but I promise they were delicious.
For the mussels, gently cook a couple of shallots, and about the same number of cloves of garlic, in a big pan. When they’re translucent, add a large glass of wine, and cook until the alcohol has all evaporated off (this bit should take maybe 10 minutes). Then pop in the cleaned mussels and a big handful of chopped parsley. Put the lid on, give it all a shake, and leave it for 3-5 minutes, until all of the mussels have opened up. Then pour in a small glass of single cream and the juice of a lemon, then let it cook for a couple of minutes. I’m pretty vague with measurements, just throw in what looks right.
Serve it in a big bowl, with yummy bread (I used sourdough from Peter’s Yard, it’s my favourite) and skinny fries on the side. Drink the rest of the wine, too. Yum.
I love Hendrick’s.