Sunday, 2 January 2011

Saffron & White Wine Mussels

Mussels are a great healthy, light and fresh way to enjoy a main meal with friends. Moules Marinieres is a classic French recipe that is so simple to follow - you can literally pop the mussels in a pan as your guests arrive. My version has added herbs and a little bit more wine to give more of a kick. The finished dish is fresh, creamy and looks elegant.

Top tip: Mussels are in season September to April (there's an 'R' in the month!).

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

Mussels - 1kg
Shallots - 5 small
Garlic - 2 cloves
Butter - 25g
Dry White Wine - 400mls
Coriander - 1 handful
Saffron - 4 strands
Parsley - 1 handful
Bay Leaves - 2
Double Cream - 100mls

1. Thoroughly wash the mussels in cold water. Discard any that are slightly open. Some mussels will have fibre-like strands hanging off them - you should pull these 'beards' off.

2. Peel and dice the shallots and garlic. In a frying pan over a medium heat sauté the shallots and garlic until softened.

3. In a large high-sided saucepan, add the mussels, shallots, garlic, chopped coriander, whole bay leaves, saffron strands and white wine. Turn up the heat to bring to the boil, and simmer for roughly 5 minutes until the majority of the mussels have opened.

4. Remove the mussels from the pan, discarding any unopened ones, and reduce the sauce for a further 3-4minutes.

5. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves, and stir in the cream, before seasoning well with salt and pepper.

6. Divide the mussels up into 4 serving bowls, pour over the sauce and sprinkle generously with roughly chopped parsley.

Serve hot with cooked chips or crusty white bread, and a homemade mayonnaise.

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