Apologies for the delay since the last blog entry, we’ve been away travelling and working on other food projects (but not forgotten Season’s Eatings). At a dinner party there was a delicious recipe for mussels (Calum, the fine chap who cooked them has a video recipe here) and subsequently went on a seafood cookery school course, so thought it was about time to share a recipe with you involving mussels.
Cooking with shellfish is generally rather easy, but does take a little bit of knowledge for the preparation, which is why most people seem to be put off the idea. We’ll share with you a few tips that will ensure your mussels are OK to eat and that cooking goes as smoothly as possible. Our orange and fennel recipe confidently boasts flavour, meaning you just have to keep an eye on the timings.
This recipe is for one person (with seconds), so just multiply up when you’re cooking for more.
Preparation time: 5 – 10 minutes
Cooking time: 6 minutes
- approximately 20 mussels, washed in running water
- Olive oil
- 1 large glass of white wine (and another to drink)
- 1 orange – zest and juice
- 1 small fennel head
- Salt and pepper
- Wash the mussels in running water, discarding any with broken shells. Don’t leave to soak in a bowl of water as this is not oxygenated and will slowly kill your seafood! Some mussels may be slight open, but this doesn’t immediately mean that they’re not alive and good to eat. Give the rounded edge a couple of sharp knocks on the chopping board and if the mussel closes up again, then it’s still alive and very much edible. If it doesn’t, you can discard it too.
- The mussels have ‘beards’, the fibres coming out of the back them, that they used to latch onto a surface. Trim these off with a sharp knife.
- Prepare the fennel, by slicing off the root so you can hold it flat on the surface. Chop down the middle into two and then thinly slice each half (as best you can). You’re now ready to cook.
- In a large frying pan (if you don’t have a large one, I suggest using a large saucepan instead), add a couple of glugs of olive oil and leave to heat to nearly smoking point. This is when the surface of the oil starts shimmering and looks like it has ripples. Add the fennel slices and mussels, turn the heat down to medium and stir round for 3 minutes. The fennel should begin to soften – try a piece or give it a prod with a knife to see and you might see the mussels starting to open at this point.
- Add the wine, orange zest and juice, turn the heat up high and continue to stir round for another 3 minutes until the alcohol starts to evaporate from the wine and the mussels have fully opened.
- Serve with some crush bread and a sprinkling of chopped parsley if you have it.