Make a meal of musselsBy Tony Cole
September 26, 2012
Mussels make a great meal and are bang in season.
As Tony Cole from LSQ2 explains, get the rules right and they’re easy to cook too
The Marine Conservation Society reckons that mussel stocks are ‘generally considered to be under exploited’ so here’s a simple mussels dish to try and make the most of this abundant healthy and cheap bivalve mollusc.
Cooking is easy if you just stick to a few simple rules…
If your mussels are covered in mud or barnacles just rub them together under running water before you start.
Tap any mussels that are partly open and discard those that are not tightly closed.
Rinse or dip each mussel in cold water.
Pull the straggly hairy beard from the mussels.
When they are cooked discard any that are not fully opened.
Mussels are available in any month that has an ‘R’ in it, so the new season has just begun.
Mussels with Saffron, Chilli and Coriander
24 mussels, cleaned with beards removed
Pinch saffron threads
4tsp Thai fish sauce
1 cup white wine
2 knobs fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 red chillies, de-seeded, halved long ways and finely sliced
½ cup of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Clean the mussels removing the beard and discard any that are open – the shells should be tightly closed.
Don’t scrub the shells as the colour will leak into the sauce during cooking.
Combine saffron, fish sauce and wine and allow to infuse for minimum of 2 hours.
Heat a heavy based pan over high heat. When very hot add the mussels, fish sauce liquid and ginger. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes or until shells are fully open.
Discard any mussels which do not open.
Serve with coriander, finely sliced red chillies and half a lime.
My crab dish is inspired by a recipe that I picked up while working in Australia.
Chilli mud crab is a common dish in Aussie bistros and brasseries. The mud crab is cut into large pieces and cooked in the shell in a spicy chilli sauce.
My recipe is adapted from this using the best hand picked white Cornish crabmeat and a British classic, crab mayonnaise on toast.
Chilli Crab Mayo
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
3tsp grated ginger
1 red chilli, chopped
¹/6 cup veg oil
50ml tomato ketchup
60ml sweet chilli sauce
20ml rice vinegar
½kg mixed crab meat
2 red chillis, finely diced
½tbsp coriander, chopped
Salt and pepper
Blend the onions, garlic, ginger and the first two chillies together with the veg oil. Cook in a frying pan over a low heat until a golden brown colour.
Combine the tomato ketchup, sweet chilli sauce and rice vinegar together. Add to the cooked aromatics.
Add the crab and the mayonnaise to the mix along with the other two finely chopped chillies and the chopped coriander.
Serve on toasted sourdough bread and some leaf salad.