A Mussel Trio
With Mussels back in season here are three delicious recipes to whet your appetite.
- Olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1-2 pinches of crumbled dried chilli
- 1 anchovy fillet
- 12 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
- 250g fresh linguine
- 1kg mussels, washed and debearded
- A small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pan of salted water to a boil.
Pour a few drizzles of extra virgin olive oil into a separate little pan and put it on a medium heat. Add the garlic, dried chilli and anchovy, then squeeze in and add the cherry tomatoes as the garlic begins to fry – at no point should the garlic take on any colour, but you need the heat to be hot enough to melt the anchovies. The juice from the tomatoes and oil will make a light, very delicate and simple sauce.
Add the linguine to the pan of boiling water and cook according to packet instructions.
Add the mussels to the tomato sauce. Give the pan a little toss, then place a lid on top and cook until all the mussels are open. As usual with mussels, if any remain closed after cooking, throw them away. Add a handful of chopped parsley to the pan.
The pasta will now be a little under al dente and only a minute away from being ready. Drain the pasta, saving a little of the cooking water, put the pasta back into the big pot and pour the mussel sauce over the top, mixing everything together well.
Put the pot back on a low heat for an extra minute or two to cook the pasta perfectly – it will suck up all the lovely mussel juice. To finish, drizzle over a good bit of olive oil, season to taste and serve immediately.
MUSSEL WITH GUINNESS
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 rashers of smoked bacon
- ½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ½ a bunch of fresh thyme
- 1 knob of unsalted butter
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 kg mussels, cleaned and debearded
- 250 ml Guinness
- 50 ml double cream
Peel and finely chop the shallot and garlic, and finely chop the bacon. Pick and finely chop the parsley and thyme.
In a pan, melt the butter and sweat the shallot, garlic and bacon for 4 to 5 minutes.
Add half the herbs, the bay, and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Next, add the mussels (if any are open, give them a tap; if they don’t close, throw them away), then the Guinness. Boil, then lower the heat, cover and steam for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mussels have opened (discard any unopened ones).
Stir in the cream and remaining herbs, adjust the seasoning and serve with bread.
PESTO MUSSELS ON TOAST
- 70 g pesto
- 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread
- 200g baby courgettes
- 200g cherry tomatoes
- 500g mussels, scrubbed, debearded
- 160g fresh or frozen peas
- 50ml white wine
- 2 sprigs of fresh basil
Put a large pan on a medium-high heat, and toast the bread as the pan heats up, turning when golden.
Trim and finely slice the courgettes, and halve the cherry tomatoes.
Check the mussels – if any are open, just give them a little tap and they should close; if they don’t they’re no good, so chuck those ones away.
Remove the toast and spread one quarter of the pesto on each slice.
Turn the heat under the pan up to full whack and tip in the mussels. Stir in the remaining pesto, the courgettes, tomatoes and peas.
Add the wine. Cover with a lid and leave to steam for 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
When all the mussels have opened and are soft and juicy, they’re ready. If any remain closed, simply throw those away.
Divide the mussels, veg and all those gorgeous juices between two large bowls, pick over the basil leaves and serve with the pesto toasts on the side.