Its sometimes just a little boring when cooking for one. And you do tend to resort to simple things, like cooking off a chicken at the weekend and living off the meat in various forms ending with a chicken and vegetable soup. But man or mandy cannot live by meat alone and as I was trundling around John Lewis earlier today I did duck down to the basement to have a wander around at what Waitrose had to offer when I spied these lovely treats.
Just over a kilogram of mussels for less than four quid, fresh that day. A quick calculation led me to believe that a) there was an R in the month and b) I had a spot of white wine left over in the fridge. My heart quickened.
Another two rules to remember, if its open before you cook it and doesn’t close sharply when tapped, throw it away and if its closed after cooking throw it away and remember to trim the beards away. (usually involving a sharp pull) And the only other golden rule on mussels is to empty your bin before you go to bed, should you not want a fishy pong in the morning.
A kg seems alot, but actually it works out to be about 8 oz of meat which is the same as a jolly good steak.
There are lots of ways to cook mussels, I favour the chop a small amount of onion or a shallot, whichever is to hand, a couple of slivers of garlic, that is all, bubble in butter until softened and just coloured around the edges, throw in a small half a glass of white wine and then the mussels and then clamp the lid on top. Leave at a full blistering heat, steaming vigorously for 1 minute, stir them around, then do the same for another minute, and thats all they need, you can add 30 seconds if your really not sure, but no more, you do not want bullets of protein, you want gorgeously soft, smelling of the sea treats to the tastebuds. It really is the simplest of meals.
Serve with bread, or french fries or even pasta and finish the wine of course, whilst not forgetting to sip some of the gorgeous liquor at the bottom of your bowl.
et voila, supper is finished.