Mussels in mariner's style
1 kg (about 60) fresh blue mussels
4 tbsp butter
1 large or 2 small shallots
200 ml dry white wine
100 ml fish stock and 100 ml dry white wine
100 ml fish stock and juice of ½ lemon + enough water to get 100 ml
bunch of parsley
a couple of black peppercorns
(dash of cream)
(1 sprig of thyme)
(½ bay leaf)
Although fresh mussels should be cooked as soon as possible after purchasing, they can be stored refrigerated for up to one to three days, depending on their freshness.
To store them, line a bowl large enough to hold the mussels with a damp towel. Pour the mussels in the bowl and cover completely but loosely with the edges of the towel. Place the bowl in refrigerator.
Before cooking, check the mussels to ensure they are alive:
- Shells should be tightly closed and remain so
- Shells that have opened, should slowly close when rinsed under cold, running water or when tapped against work surface.
- Discard any mussels that will not close or have broken shells.
- Discard any mussels that feel unusually heavy these
may be full of sand or mud which would spoil the dish.
Using rubber gloves, scrub the mussels' shells thoroughly with a stiff vegetable brush under cold, running water. If there are any byssal threads (byssus = a tuft of protein fibres, also known as "the beard") projecting out from between the shells, pull them off.
Warm deep serving plates or bowls in oven (about 100 °C). Place a strainer lined with a clean, moistened cheesecloth over a saucepan. Chop the shallots and the parsley. In another saucepan large enough to hold all the mussels, sauté the shallots in 2 tablespoons of butter.
Add the wine (and/or stock/lemon juice/water), parsley and other seasonings and bring the mixture to the boil.
Pour in the mussels and cover the saucepan with a lid. Cook for about 5 to 8 minutes or until the mussels have opened, shaking the pan gently every now and then. Strain the stock through the cheesecloth
to the other saucepan (add a dash of cream) and cook until slightly reduced.
Meanwhile, pick out any mussels that have not opened and discard them. Place the mussels back in the saucepan
and keep them warm under a lid. Whisk the rest of the butter into the reduced stock and pour it over the mussels.
Serve the mussels immediately from the warmed plates with fresh baguette and/or French fries/chips and mayonnaise.
Instead of deep-fried chips, you may serve a bit healthier oven French fries.
Serves 2 - 3.
Recipe source: adapted from "Viinissä keitetyt simpukat", Ihatsu, A. et al., ed. (1993) Otavan suuri keittokirja. Keuruu: Otava, and various other sources.