mussels in creamy sauce
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Do you know Lizard Head in Cornwall? It’s the southernmost point of the county, beautiful scenery, lovely coastal path good for walks for hours.
I remember it very clearly. It was where I suddenly developed an allergy to oysters. I'll skip the gruesome details but enough to say, I've not touched an oyster since. What got me must have been a/ a bad oyster from a celebrated chef’s establishment (and no, they didn’t offer me a lifetime discount) or b/ a sudden shellfish allergy. I’m aware that these things happen out of the blue, but the funny (and good) thing is, I don’t seem to be allergic to any other type of mollusc. Mussels included, thank the Lord.
Mussels are so CHEAP. The bag I bought from the market was £3.50. And that happily feeds two. Look for clean ones – you don’t want to spend hours scrubbing the barnacles off if, like me, you’re slightly put off by the little creatures who live in barnacles. The mussels I got came from the Billingsgate market and I bet you can walk around there and take your pick – of the cleanest, nicest, liveliest looking mussels there are.
The recipe has a tiny twist – the usual spiel is to cook mussels with wine, take them out and then add cream – what a waste of time. I added the cream beforehand, turned up the heat full whack and threw the shells in – they were happy as Larry cooking straight in the cream sauce.
mussels in creamy sauceServings: 2Time: 40 minutes
- 1 kilo of fresh mussels for two people
- four or five spring onions
- two large cloves of garlic, chopped
- a few sprigs of thyme
- half a cup of double cream
- a good glug of white wine
1. Sling the mussels brutally into the sink – the ones that have started opening but are still alive will close promptly.
2. Scrub and de-beard the mussels, discard the ones that are smashed or won’t close. If not cooking straight away, put them in a bowl covered with a damp kitchen towel and store in the fridge. They’ll survive a day.
3. Prepare a large pan to easily hold all the mussels. Chop up the spring onion, melt the butter in the pan, add the onion, garlic and the sprigs of thyme.
4. Cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Pour in the cream – let it bubble. Turn the heat up full whack and sling the mussels in together with a glug of wine.
5. Cook for a few minutes giving the pan a good shake once or twice. Turn the heat off when they start to open up, then serve with crusty bread or French fries.