Bivalves hold no fear for me. I’ve made this dish quite a few times and if I may say so myself, I make a fabulous moules. Except that I never get to share them with anyone because Mr B fears the bivalve, as do many of my friends. I pity them.
As for those who are squeamish about cooking live animals, if you’re not a vegetarian you haven’t got a leg to stand on.
This serves one, but that one is me and if you’re less greedy about shellfish than me it would probably feed two.
Prep time is 20 mins, cooking time is 10.
Mussels. I’m not going to specify an amount because you’re likely to just have to buy a bag. Choose however much you’d like.
One or two shallots, chopped finely
Two cloves of garlic, chopped finely
A handful of parsley, chopped
A bit of butter
A glass of white wine
First, sort out the mussels. If they need de-bearding then do it, pulling away the fronds of sea-greens sharply. If the mussel is open and doesn’t shut when tapped, chuck it. Err on the side of caution. Put mussels in a bowl of cold water.
Sometimes when in the bowl of water they open a little. At this point, you may say to them “Hello. I’m going to EAT YOU.” It makes me chuckle.
Chop the shallots, garlic and parsley. In a LARGE pan that has a lid, soften the shallots in some butter for a couple of minutes, add the garlic for one minute more. Drain the mussels and add them, followed closely by the glass of white wine and an equal amount of water, plus half the parsley, salt and pepper to season. Turn the heat up, put the lid on the pan and give it a good shake to cover the mussels in the liquid.
Shake the pan every 30 secs or so until all the mussels have opened. Don’t let them get massively opened, you don’t want it overcooked.
Drain the mussels, reserving the cooking liquid. Put the mussels in the serving dish and put a lid or a plate over it to keep them warm. Put the liquid back into the pan turn the heat up high to reduce the liquid by about a third and take the edge off the alcohol. This should take maybe three minutes.
Pour the liquid over the mussels, sprinkle over the rest of the parsley and serve immediately. A big hunk of bread is good to soak up the liquid.
And remember to provide a big empty bowl for the shells.