Mussels are one of my favourites. They are healthy to eat, quick to cook and cheap to buy. I bought rope grown fresh Scottish mussels from my local supermarket. 1.8 kg cost £4.88, this amount will serve four as a starter and two as a very generous main course.
Before cooking mussels you need to give them a wash and brush up. A rinse with fresh cold water and a quick scrub with a nail brush will get rid of any sand, grit or mud. Make sure that they are all beard free (the strange hairy part that pokes out of them which the mussel uses to cling on to rock or rope) and that the shells are shut tightly. Discard any open or broken shelled mussels. Any that are already open or have broken shells will be dead, will not taste good and could be harmful.
For the soup/sauce you will need:
- An onion, finely chopped
- Clove of garlic crushed
- 300 ml of medium or dry white wine
- A can of chopped tomatos
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of chilli flakes
- A glug of olive oil
- A bay leaf
In a large pan heat the olive oil and add the onion. Sweat for a few minutes until the onion has turned translucent. Add the garlic, wine, tomatos, salt, chilli and bay. Bring to the boil and then add the mussels.
Put on the lid and steam for 3-5 minutes or until the shells are open.
Serve the mussels in large warmed bowls and pour over the tomato and wine soup. Discard any mussels who’s shells have not opened.
This dish is lovely served with some fresh white crusty bread to mop up the soup and a glass of chilled white wine to wash it all down.
Remember to put out a dish for your discarded shells.
You don’t even need a fork to eat these mussels, pick out the first mussel and then use it’s shell like a tweezer to tease out the others.