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Grilled mussels with black pudding

Updated: Wed, 15 May, 2024

Grilled mussels with black pudding and cheesy breadcrumb topping, crispy and super flavoursome. Mussels and black pudding are a very well-matched pair.

Grilled mussels with black pudding

All about blood

Black pudding, haggis, boudin noir, blutwurst, morcilla, blodpudding, kaszanka and pig blood curd – are you a fan of blood sausages? I certainly am, not least for the nose to tail principle, the ‘waste not want not’ frugality and the respect to the animal we butcher and eat, like the Native North Americans.

Blood sausage is made from blood mixed with fillers, more often than not cereal of some kind, less often chopped up offal, encased into a length of gut.

It’s the Game of Thrones of the meat world, everything about it offensive to the lily-livered carnivores who happily bite into battery chicken but huff about Bambies when offered sustainable and more humane venison.

mussels with crispy black pudding breadcumbs

Black pudding is gorgeous

Luckily for the pudding and the nose to tail concept, most people don’t think about what black pudding really is when they tuck into their full English. Arguably it has a higher meat content than an average English sausage, the latter containing mainly breadcrumbs and sage.

But pudding is also well suited to a main course, perhaps not as a main hero but in a strong supporting role. I always cheer when I spot it on a menu though it tends to be paired with pork which I don’t usually go for when eating out. Pork is boring.

Mussels and black pudding are a match made in heaven. The bivalves are delicate and tender, the pudding is gutsy and macho: a very old fashioned binary, gender specific identity of both partners.

This recipe will be perfect to make a smart starter for a dinner party, but make sure your guests are happy eating either element: this dish consists of the two foodstuffs the Weather Man staunchly refuses to try!

mussels and black pudding

How to clean mussels

Undeniably, cleaning mussels is not a pleasant chore. I believe the lowest of the kitchen brigade, commis or porters are usually lumbered with that thankless task in restaurants.

But at home we’re not required to clean 50 kilos of the molluscs so it should be considerably less daunting. And mussels are cheap enough to justify a bit of work involved in preparation.

First of all, dump the mussels brutally into the sink from the bag. The ones that were half-intending to open will be jolted into closing shut, while the ones that refuse to close, even rapped against the sink, should go.

raw mussels

Debearding, and what about barnacles?

The rope-like tufts sticking out of the shells are called beards and they need to be either trimmed with sharp kitchen scissors or pulled off with the help of a small knife.

The same knife can be used to scrape off barnacles which, though harmless, might be unsightly on a plate.

How to cook mussels

This must be the simplest cooking operation: you just put the mussels into a large pan, cover with a lid and heat up until they all open. Obviously, discard the ones that won’t.

cooked mussels

How to prepare the black pudding topping

Black pudding slices, fresh or dried breadcrumbs, grated hard cheese and some chopped herbs – that’s a beautiful flavour combination.

You can mix it in a food processor or a blender, but if you chop the pudding quite finely you can just blend it all in a bowl with a spoon.

Grilled mussels in five minutes

Use a large tray that will fit into your oven grill and arrange the mussels in their half-shells in it, pretty close together so the topping is easier to place over them. Spoon it over the shells and slip the tray under the grill.

The mussels are already cooked of course so it’s just the case of cooking the black pudding and crispening the cheese and breadcrumbs. It should take not much longer than five minutes, depending how crispy you like it.

And it’s a wonderful starter or a lunch dish, served with bread on the side and a green salad.

preparing mussels with topping

More mussel recipes

Curried mussels spiced with chilli powder, cumin and turmeric, vibrant in colour with saffron, cooked in light creamy sauce. Option to substitute curry powder for my spice mix.

Mussels in white wine and cream sauce, or moules mariniere, the simplest and best recipe for mussels. Clean the mussels and debeard them, then they only need to steam in the white wine sauce.

More seafood recipes

Scallop, aubergine and asparagus stir fry, with frozen queen scallops and 'fish fragrant', yu xiang inspired sauce. This is just the dish to use less expensive, frozen and thawed scallops.

Prawn Creole for two served with plain rice is my signature special main dish these days. Easy sauce base and roux, and homemade Creole seasoning recipe included.

Crab salad with spring onions and radishes, served in lettuce leaf boats garnished with avocado slices. That's an elegant starter or a tasty sandwich filling.

mussels and black pudding gratin

Grilled mussels with black pudding

Servings: 2-4Time: 40 minutes


  • 500g (about 1 pound) fresh mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 100g (3oz.) black pudding
  • 4 tbsp dry or fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp grated hard cheese (Gruyere, Cheddar, Comte)
  • ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped


1. Place a large empty pan over medium heat. When hot, add the mussels in with a splash of water, cover with a lid and steam for a couple of minutes until they open. Take the pan off the heat and leave until the mussels are cool enough to handle.

2. Prepare a baking tray or ovenproof dish large enough to hold all the mussels on half shells. Drizzle the dish with olive oil.

3. Roughly chop the black pudding and blitz it in a blender or food processor with most of the breadcrumbs, cheese and parsley, leaving a little of each to sprinkle over the finished dish.

4. Open the mussels (discard the ones that didn’t open when cooking) and place them in half shelves in the baking dish. Preheat the oven grill to medium.

5. Spoon the black pudding mix over the mussel shelves letting it crumble around the shells as well. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs, drizzle with a little more olive oil and grill for 10 minutes until the topping is crisp.

6. Sprinkle with the rest of the parsley and serve.

Originally published: Fri, 1 December, 2017

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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