Friday, 3 February 2012

Eating well isn't just about a salad.

One of the worst things about traditional diets is the utter boredom that accompanies meal times. You either have a bland bit of chicken and some flavourless veg or (perhaps even worse) you get a teeny, tiny portion of something halfway decent.
Neither option has ever suited me. I do love "proper" food. It's about a lot more than just the taste, too. There is the whole experience to be had, especially with something like moules. The smell of the garlic, shallots and wine in the sauce, the unctious, sweet flesh of the mussels, hell, the sheer eroticism of sharing a huge bowl of them with someone you love and eating with your fingers. Chins shiny with remnants of the creamy, buttery sauce. There isn't too much that can top this dish on a Friday night when its cold outside and you're curled up in front of the fire.
A pound of fresh mussels per person.
4 ounces or so of butter.
A couple of glasses of muscadet wine. 4 large cloves of garlic.
6 shallots.
A small pot of double cream.
Plenty of parsley.
Salt and pepper.
Fill the sink with water, tip the mussels in and scrape away the beards and any limpets etc that cling to the shells.
Discard any that are cracked or do not close.
Finely chop the garlic, shallots and parsley.
Melt half the butter and gently fry the garlic and shallots for 5 minutes. Do not let them brown. Tip in the wine, jack up the heat and throw in all the mussels, giving them a good stir.
Bring to the boil and cover, lower the heat and let them simmer for 5 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the mussels to a serving dish, raise the heat again and reduce the liquor a little. Add the rest of the butter and stir it in then lower the heat, add the cream and stir it for a minute or so before pouring it over the mussels and serving.



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