September 17, 2010
Mussels are an abundant, cheap, food source, which can be cultivated on ropes, as well as growing naturally in many parts of the world. They have been a popular human food source for thousands of years. Mussles are often cooked in the Provencale and Marinière styles (as the main ingredient) and are quite common in fish stews, risottos and paellas.
Moules Marinière recipe:
1 kilo of mussels
3 pieces of garlic
1 – 2 shallots
1 stick of celery
a bouquet garni
1 desert spoon of chopped parsley
a knob of butter
freshly ground black pepper
1 wine glass of dry white wine
1 wine glass of water
Wash your mussels by placing them in a bowl of fresh water – change the water several times. Discard any that refuse to close. Clean off any barnacles and remove the mussels’ beards.
Chop the garlic, shallots and celery finely. Heat some oil in a large saucepan and when it’s hot, add the vegetables. When they have cooked for a minute or so, add the mussels, boquet garni, wine, water and a little black pepper. Put the lid on the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for a minute or two. When the mussels have opened, they are ready.
Put the mussels into a large bowl or tureen, discard the bouquet garni and stir the butter and parsley into the remaining liquid. When it has thickened, pour this sauce over the mussels. If a thicker sauce is desirable, add a little cream and two egg yolks in place of the butter.
Serve with chips cooked in goose fat and/or some crusty bread. Some people serve with lemon wedges too. Discard any mussels which don’t open during cooking.
Moules Provencale is made in much the same way, but the celery and shallots are replaced by 2 medium chopped tomatoes and the butter is omitted.
Please note that wild mussels are not normally eaten in the summer months (the months without an r) because they are susceptible to contamination by toxic planktonic organisms. These don’t harm the mussels but can cause food poisoning in humans. Likewise, mussels should be avoided when growing near sewage outlets.