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Posts Tagged ‘Mussels’

Mussels with chorizo and cider

We had a hankering for mussels, as we often do, and thought this sounded a bit different. There’s no finishing of the sauce required once the mussels are cooked unlike other classic mussel dishes. Last minute finishing can be fiddly, especially with guests, so this worked well for us. Easily scalable, provided you have a big pot, and a good party dish.

Wine Suggestion: we used Stonewell Dry Cider from Kinsale in County Cork for this dish which has a really good depth of flavour and it would equally work well as the accompaniment. Some ciders are lighter but the robust nature of the chorizo and mussels needed a more robust flavour like the Stonewell.

Alternately if you would prefer to drink some wine we’d suggest a good South African Chenin Blanc, like Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs. The ripe yellow apple flavours are a good compliment and the freshness, texture and zing provide a good balance. The Secateurs is a great go-to wine in our house and we highly recommend it!

Spanish mussels with cider & chorizo – serves 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g chorizo, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500ml dry cider
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Wash the mussels really well and scrape off any barnacles and beardy bits. Tap any opened mussels on the sink and throw them away if they don’t close.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large pan and sauté the chorizo with the onions until slightly coloured and softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the mussels, chorizo and some black pepper, then cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and steam until the mussels have opened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from Food From Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Mussels with Parma ham

Ham gives a nice salty twist to mussels so be careful when adding any additional seasoning. We have lots of herbs growing in the garden at this time of year and are always looking for excuses to use them.

Wine Suggestion: This was an harder match than expected given the combination of salty sea flavours and the richness of the ham. Given the layers of savoury flavours we complemented this with a dry Amontillado sherry, the Hidalgo “Napoleon” which has the Umami richness to match. It also has a great nuttiness that added something extra and also a very complementary hint of fresh sea air in it’s flavour.

Mussels with Bayonne ham – 3-4

  • 1.5kg mussels
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 50g butter
  • 1 shallot
  • 75g Bayonne or prosciutto ham
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 handful of mixed herbs – we used parsley, tarragon & chives
  • crusty bread to serve

Scrub the mussels clean and discard any that don’t close when tapped on a hard surface.

Add 2 tbsp of the wine to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes or until opened. Give the pan a shake every now and then and discard any mussels that remain closed. Take off the heat and strain in a colander over a large bowl to catch the liquid. Reserve the liquid and keep the mussels warm.

In the same pan, melt the butter and cook the shallot, ham and garlic for 4-5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the mussel cooking liquid and the rest of the wine wine. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Add the mussels and herbs and mix well, then season with black pepper.

(Original recipe by Rick Stein)

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Mussels in a creamy sauce

We can’t get enough of mussels and love them in any kind of sauce. This is a nice easy one to serve 2 with some crusty bread (or hot chips!).

Wine Suggestion: try to find a good Alvarinho from Vinho Verde in Portugal. We’re big fans of Soalheiro whose wines have a delicious vibrancy and freshness that really work with mussels.

Mussels in a Creamy Sauce – serves 2

  • 1kg mussels
  • 250ml white wine
  • 25g butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 parsley stalks
  • few thyme sprigs
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 100ml single cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves

Scrub the mussels under cold water, scraping off any beards or barnacles. Discard any that are damaged or those that don’t close completely when tapped against the sink.

Put the mussels in a large pan with the wine, butter, bay leaf, parsley stalks, thyme and shallot. Cover, bring to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Drain, keeping the cooking liquor, and discard any mussels that have not opened. Discard the parsley stalks and bay leaf.

Put the cooked mussels into two serving bowls and keep warm. Return the cooking liquor to the pot and boil rapidly until slightly thickened. Now pour in the cream and add the chopped parsley and cook gently until thickened further. Season, then pour over the mussels and serve immediately.

(Original recipe by Greg Wallace for BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2008.)

 

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Ditaloni, mussels & white wine

A scrumptious and deliciously rich pasta dish that works perfectly as a starter.

Wine Suggestion: A textured white works best here; old-world minerality rather than bright fruit-forward styles. The Casal di Serra Verdicchio from Umani Ronchi in the Marche (central Italy) combines stonefruit flavours, hints of wild-flowers on the nose and a crisp yellow apple finish and goes with the richness and depth of the pasta.

Ditaloni, mussels & white wine – serves 4

  • 1kg small mussels, scrubbed
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin oil
  • 125ml white wine
  • 165ml double cream
  • 300g ditaloni (or similar) pasta

Heat half the butter with the oil, then add the garlic and mussels. Pour in the wine; season, then cover and cook over a high heat until the mussels have opened. Drain the mussels and reserve the cooking liquid. Remove the mussels from the shells; discard the shells and any mussels that haven’t opened.

Heat the rest of the butter in a pan and add the mussel juices and the cream. Cook gently to reduce to a rich and creamy sauce. Then add the mussels and parsley.

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, then drain and add to the sauce. Toss together over a low heat, and serve.

(Original recipe from Italian Two Easy by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Clarkson Potter, 2006.)

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Moules Marinière

We love this Normandy classic and have been known to make Moules Marinières as an impromptu supper served with some skinny fries or crusty bread. No other dish is as reminiscent of holidays in France and mussels are also very cheap. What could be better? 

Wine Suggestion: You can’t go wrong with a good old Muscadet here. Just the thing to complement the dish and shouldn’t blow the budget. Unfortunately Muscadet has had a few good quality but low quantity vintages so it may be a bit more scarce than usual. 

Moules Marinière – to serve 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  •  50g butter, chilled
  • 150ml water
  • 150ml dry white wine

Melt half the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and shallots and sweat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the water, wine and half the parsley and simmer for 5-10 minute. 

Add the mussels, cover the pan quickly with a tight lid and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, giving the pan a good shake occasionally. Check if the mussels are open, if most of them are still closed, cover and cook for another minute or two, or until opened. 

Drain the mussels in a colander over a bowl to catch the liquid and discard any that haven’t opened. Cover the mussels with a pan lid to keep them warm. Pour the mussel liquid back into the pan and boil until it has a strong concentrated flavour. Reduce the heat. 

Cut up the remaining butter into small pieces and whisk into the sauce, piece by piece. Taste and season. 

Transfer the mussels to a serving bowl, pour over the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. 

(Original recipe from Leiths: How to Cook, Quadrille, 2013.)

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La Mouclade

A traditional French dish of steamed mussels with a light creamy, curry sauce. Serve with lots of crusty bread.

La mouclade – to serve 4

  • A good pinch of saffron threads
  • 1.75kg mussels, cleaned
  • 120ml dry white wine
  • 25g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp medium curry powder (buy a good quality one)
  • 2 tbsp cognac
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley

Moisten the saffron with a tablespoon of warm water in a small bowl.

Put the mussels and wine in a large pot, cover and cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan now and then, until the mussels have opened. Drain the mussels in a colander set over a bowl to catch the cooking liquor. Put the mussels in a large serving bowl and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion, garlic and curry powder and cook gently, without browning, for a few minutes. Add the cognac and cook until almost evaporated, then stir in the flour and cook for another minute. Gradually stir in the saffron liquid and all but the last tablespoon or so of the mussel liquor (so you avoid any grit). Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the crème fraîche and simmer for another 3 minutes, until reduced a bit. Season, stir in the parsley and pour the sauce over the mussels.

Wine Suggestion: A classic match for this dish is a white Bordeaux where the fresh grassiness of Sauvignon Blanc is complemented by the richness of Semillon and structure from a bit of oak. Almost an exotic combination with the mouclade, but perfect.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey, BBC Books, 2005.)

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The sauce for these mussels is a revelation: full of wonderful flavours and balance, rich and yet light. Don’t be afraid of the amount of whiskey you put in either – it really works.

Irish Whiskey Mussels – to serve 6

  • 2kg mussels
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 stick of celery
  • knob of butter
  • 250g undyed smoked haddock, skin removed and pin-boned
  • 150ml Irish whiskey – we used Green Spot
  • 200ml double cream
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
Wash and debeard the mussels and throw any that won’t close away.

Finely slice the leek and celery (keep the yellow celery leaves for sprinkling over at the end). Put a wide, deep pot on a medium heat and add some olive oil and a knob of butter, along with the leek and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft then flake in the smoked haddock and pour in the whiskey. Set the pan alight and wait until the flames die down – mind your eyebrows.

Add the mussels and double cream. Stir well, put the lid on the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the mussels have all popped open – throw away any that stay closed. Move the mussels to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Bubble the cooking liquor until it thickens. Roughly chop the parsley and add to the pot. Taste the sauce for seasoning and pour it all over the mussels Scatter the celery leaves over and serve with bread or skinny chips.

(Original recipe Highland Mussels by Jamie Oliver from Jamie’s Great Britain, Penguin 2011.)

Wine Suggestion: Pick a nice dry and good quality German Riesling which should give you racy acidity, minerality and Riesling flavours which work well with the mussels and smoked haddock. We had a stunning example from Wagner Stempel – well worth checking out this up and coming producer from the Rheinhessen region (infamously known for Liebfraumilch!). Or you could always have a shot of whiskey!

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