This is a delicious meal which is easier to produce than you may believe. In the video that we have produced here, I take you through the basic steps, revealing the possible pitfalls. If you are a fan of mussels watch the video at your leisure.
1kg fresh mussels, in their shell
½ onion, finely chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
large glass dry white wine
50ml double cream
small knob butter
fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
French bread and lemon wedges, to serve
Brenda is not amused as Fanny takes delight in being rude about her as she cooks the mussels
Scrub the mussels well in a large bowl of cold water, removing the beards and any barnacles. Also discard any with broken shells or any that don’t close tight when tapped on a hard surface. This is because any displaying those characteristics, are probably already dead and therefore decaying. I know Brenda is decaying too and that doesn’t stop her, but we prefer our bivalves to clamp tightly shut upon being disturbed…. By the way I actually did 2 or 3 water changes about an hour apart and it really made the difference as it’s the first time I’ve ever eaten mussels with no sand in – it having all been purged and sunk to the bottom of the bowl of water. When ready, drain, but don’t dry, the mussels.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, bay leaf and thyme, and cook for 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for a further minute.
Put the oven on 200°C ready for your main course, more of which in a minute, and place in the French bread and bowls- enough heat will have built up by the time you’re ready to serve.
Pour over the wine and simmer for 1 minute. Tip in the mussels then cover and steam, shaking the pan every now and then, for about 3-4 minutes or until all the mussels have opened. Discard any that stay shut. This is for the same reason as before only in reverse, i.e. any dead ones which were already clamped shut, will not suddenly open in the heat!
Stir in the cream and chopped parsley, check the seasoning (it probably will not need much as, despite the fresh water purging, they do release their very distinctive briny juices…) and serve in the warm bowls with the bread and lemon wedges…. although do feel free to lift the bowl to your lips and down any remaining which might otherwise escape
Cameraman James finds the wall more stimulating than the conversation