I am obviously a crazy person which is why I have not cooked mussels before. I often order a pot of mussels at a restaurant and I can still vividly remember the first time I ever had mussels at a seafront restaurant in Wellington, New Zealand (they are a local specialty there and every restaurant serves them). I can recall marvelling at the large pot that came to the table and revelling in the process of digging out the tasty morsels, building up a pile of shells by each elbow and then sopping up the juices with some crusty bread.
So, I knew that I liked mussels. What I didn’t know was that mussels are very environmentally friendly, they are also super cheap and finally (but probably most importantly) they are ridiculously easy to cook. You can certainly make some intricate and complicated dishes using mussels but often simple is best and this recipe for moules mariniere could not be simpler or quicker. Trust me when I say the entire preparation and cooking time will be 20 minutes at the most. Now I will just go back to kicking myself for not having cooked mussels before now.
1 kg mussels
1 shallot finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
75ml white wine
Handful of fresh parsley chopped
1. Clean and debeard the mussels under running water. The beard is the hair like strands hanging out of the shell, a sharp tug downwards usually gets rid of it. If any mussels are opened, tap them lightly and if they don’t close then discard them.
2. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan on medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft but not browned.
3. Add the wine to the pan and boil on high heat for a minute to burn off the alcohol.
4. Add the mussels to the pan and cover the saucepan with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes,
giving the pan a shake from time to time.
5. The mussels are cooked when they are opened. Remove the mussels with tongs and place in a serving bowl. If any mussels are still unopened give them another minute in the saucepan on the heat but discard any that fail to open.
6. Pour the cooking liquid over the mussels and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve with crusty bread.
Tip: You should always eat mussels on the day you buy them.