Not so long ago, I used to be scared of buying mussels in their shells as I had no idea how to cook them. They just looked cumbersome and tricky. So I used to stick to safe ol' wild fish. But this recipe that I put together after some inspiration from a few foodie friends is embarrassingly easy, quick and fun to eat (there's something very primal/tactile about using one hands to eat - I simply use one of the mussel shells as a utensil to pull the other mussels from their shells. Watch your kids have fun with this one!!!). And in keeping with my culinary signature style, there's only a handful of ingredients and they all go into the pot together. I especially like to keep seafood dishes very 'clean' and unfussy to let the flavour of the seafood shine through. (Yes I prefer my oysters served a la natural thanks, with no bells and whistles!).
I serve this meal every now and again instead of fish (on one of my twice-weekly seafood dinner nights at home) or pull it out as an impressive dinner party number.
I like to serve steamed mussels with a cup of extra fish broth blended with butter, fresh Sydney Rock Oysters drizzled with lemon juice, and a green leafy salad topped with shaved parmesan cheese or crumbled goats curd. I buy my mussels from Bondi Road Seafood (it's cheap and been there forever) but any old fish shop will do. You can either buy the mussels that are vacuum sealed in the packets or loose. The latter tend to be cheaper (eg I bought Edam Black local mussels at $8.99/kg).
One of the mistakes I made when I started eating an ancestral / traditional wholefoods diet is that I ate red meat 7 days a week. I inadvertently kept forgetting about seafood. But there's a lot of minerals in seafood that you can't get as readily in land animals (especially iodine, omega 3 fats (DHA and EPA), zinc and B12). So a combination of both wild or pastured land animals and wild seafood is important, not just for a broad nutrient-density profile but also to fend off taste-fatigue and boredom. And as one of my friends is fond of saying, "seafood is sexy". I'll let you make your own judgements there.....
1kg of fresh mussels in shells (or could use vongole or a combination of the 2
1 cup fish stock (preferably home made)
½ cup parsley, roughly chopped plus extra for garnishing
1 cup of tomato purée
extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
Add all ingredients to a large saucepan (other than olive oil and extra parsley for garnishing). Cover and cook on low heat until the mussels open (anywhere between 10-20 mins). The liquid and steam in the saucepan cooks the mussels. Divide mussels among 4 shallow plates and pour some of the broth from the saucepan on top. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with extra parsley and season with salt and cracked pepper. The rest of the broth from the saucepan can be consumed separately in cups (much like a fish stock). Alternatively all of the broth from the saucepan can be poured onto mussels directly into deeper bowls.
Tell me how you go.....Do you have a favourite fresh mussels recipe? If so, please share it!