Following on from my last post…here’s a little video of my trip to sea mussel collecting, plus what is one of my favourite mussel recipes. Now that it is peak mussel season this dish would make the perfect Christmas dinner starter.
James (of Menai Mussels) sent me off home after our day out clutching a bag of freshly caught mussels, which I promptly cooked with finely shredded leeks, smoked bacon and a good helping of medium dry cider. Voila! they were transformed into a gorgeously creamy and beautifully warming supper served with french bread (home-made if possible) and a couple of finger bowls.
Mussels with cider, leeks and bacon recipe:
2k Menai mussels in their shells, very well washed, debearded and scrubbed. I like to rinse at least four times under cold running water.
1 tablespoon or so of olive oil, a knob of butter
half a red onion finely chopped
1 finely chopped clove of garlic
150g finely chopped smoked streaky bacon
1 finely chopped medium leek
a sprig of fresh thyme
500ml medium dry cider
300ml single cream
salt and pepper
a handful of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pan. Add the onion and leek and cook gently over a low heat for about 10 mins. Turn the heat up to medium and add the bacon, garlic, thyme and cook briskly, stirring so that the onion and leek don’t burn. The bacon should just be turning golden when it is time to add the mussels.
Tip the mussels into the pot and pop on the lid. Give the pan a good shake to combine with the leek and oil. Remove the lid and pour in the cider, giving the pan a shake again. Turn the heat up a little more, keep the lid tight on and allow to cook for about 5 minutes or until all the mussels have opened up in the pan. Once cooked add the cream, parsley and some salt and pepper.
When you have eaten all mussels and dumped the shells to one side you will be left with all the luscious creamy juices, mop up with plenty of bread and a soup spoon.