There is a lot of talk around shellfish in months that do not have an R. Then there is the puzzle of seeing restaurants all over Europe doing Mussels all year round. One of the factors in this is that rope grown mussels or ‘farmed’ mussels are ok to eat in the summer months. The shells are thinner but the mussel meat is good. The spring time is the spawning period so I would not even eat rope grown mussels at that time of year.
We picked up some farmed mussels at the market and decided on the classic moules a la crème.
I’ve mentioned the wonderful padron peppers in previous posts, so just a quick mention of these tasty tapas. We had a few of them with a drink before dinner, all you need to do is fry them in olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, they are great.
For the mussels we softened some sliced shallot in butter in a large pan, added some garlic then a couple of glasses of dry white wine and brought the temperature back up so that it was bubbling furiously.
Clean the mussels, farmed are usually pretty clean and don’t have barnacles etc. but you need to removed the beards and any grit. Rocket is a big fan of leaving them in a bowl of water with some porridge oats, he says it plumps them up a bit – well, that’s what his Dad told him. The jury is still out for me. We then put them into the pan and put the lid on to allow them to steam open. Before putting them in check that any shells that may be slightly open start to close if you tap them.
After a couple of minutes check the mussels to see that they are open, if many of them are still closed, put the lid back on for a few moments. Then when ready and don’t be tempted to keep on cooking them as there is nothing worse than over cooked mussels, add wine glass of double cream and a little salt and pepper to taste – allow this to come gently up to temperature, so it is gently bubbling but not boiling. Cook out for a minute or two, then add finely chopped parsley and serve.
We added some fresh crusty bread and some fries – ultimate fast food.