Useful information about mussels Useful information about mussels (and live cockles as well!)
HOW TO SERVE MUSSELS
Serve as a starter or main meal, depending on how many you cook. The helpful staff at The Smelly Alley Fish Company (0118 939 3076) will advise you on quantities, but allow approximately 1kg per person, or half a kilo if you are serving a starter. The other ingredients are approximate amounts, this is not an exact recipe! Don't forget that a few mussels are a very attractive garnish for other fish dishes.
GENERAL RULES FOR MUSSELS
1. If they are open before you cook them, pinch the shells together. or tap them If the mussel closes, use it. If the shell does not move, discard it. If any shells remain closed after you cook them, discard them as well.
2. 1 kg of mussels will give about 250g of meat.
3. Mussels are simple to prepare - just wash them under cold running water, brushing off any dirt with a scrubbing brush and pulling off the "beard” with the blunt side of a knife, and scraping off the barnacles. Prepare as close as possible to cooking time.
4. Store mussels in a basin in your fridge. Do not soak them in water as this will kill them.
5.Modern methods of production and purification mean that mussels are good to eat all the year round.
Moules à la marinière or coques à la marinière
You will need about 1kg of mussels per person, one onion, a garlic clove if you like garlic, about 2 pint of dry white wine, about 2 pints of single cream and a large handful of parsley.
Before you start- put a large open dish, and a smaller dish per guest (for example, soup dish), to warm.
Prepare the mussels (see 3. above). Chop one onion finely, fry gently until soft, but not brown, in a large deep pan, with a crushed garlic clove if you wish. Add 2 pints of dry, white wine and bring to the boil. Add mussels (about 1 or 2 inches deep in the pan at a time) and cook for a few minutes until the shells open. Give the pan a shake or stir the mussels while they are cooking. (Mussels can get tough if they are cooked too long - this is why you add them bit by bit.) Take mussels out of the pan with a slotted spoon as they open, and put into a warmed serving dish. Discard any that don't open. Some of the finely chopped onion will come up with the mussels, but this looks good, so don't worry about it. When the mussels are all cooked and in the serving dish, add ¼ to ½ pint of single cream to the wine in the pan and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Pour this sauce over the mussels through a sieve to remove any small particles of shell and grit, and sprinkle a large handful of chopped parsley over the dish. Give each person a bowl and allow them to take their own mussels from the serving bowl with a large spoon so that they all get some of the sauce as well! Serve with chunks of French bread to mop up he sauce, and don't forget a large empty bowl for the shells!
You will need about 500g mussels each (if serving this as a starter), ¼ to ½ pint white wine, parsley, garlic, butter, breadcrumbs (and Parmesan cheese if you prefer).
Cook the mussels in wine as described above until the shells open (you can use ½ wine/½ water, or all water for a more economical dish). Break the pairs of shells apart, leaving the mussel meat in one of the shells. Discard the other shell. Arrange the mussel meat in their shells on a heat-proof dish or plate, and put a small teaspoon of butter blended with garlic and parsley on each, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and put under a hot grill. Or blend butter with garlic only and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Grill both versions until lightly browned. TIP You can buy ready-made garlic butter or garlic/parsley butter and ready-made fresh breadcrumbs (don't use the ones in the cardboard boxes!), making this dish even quicker to prepare!