Sunday, 6 April 2014

Mouclade- and other shellfish dishes

I do love mussels. They would be my desert island food of choice (which is probably quite sensible really as they are likely to be swimming around somewhere close by wherever I am marooned.)

I love their smell, their texture, their taste, their versatility - and their price.

They are still an inexpensive seafood - that you can make into a variety of dishes. I bought a bag at my local fishmongers for £3.70- and this is what I did with them.

Firstly, I wanted to make a mouclade or mussel stew with a curry cream sauce. Normally, I prefer moules marinieres as I think the addition of cream often makes the sauce too thick and cools it down too quickly. I'm pleased to report that this didn't happen with this recipe.

For the mouclade you will need:

250g mussels per person
1 onion finely chopped
1clove of garlic (minced)
Parsley stalks (chopped) for sauce and parsley leaves (finely chopped) for garnish
1 glass dry white wine
2 tbsp single cream
2 tsp curry powder or paste

First, wash the mussels in several changes of water and then scrub them with a scouring pad to remove any grit from the shells. Discard any which are open (and don't close when you manhandle them) and any which are damaged.

Pull off their little beards and place the mussels in a colander.

Soften the onion and garlic in some olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan. (I use the pan of my pressure cooker). Pour in the wine and add the parsley stalks and bring to the boil.
A minute or two more on these

Shoot in the mussels and cover with a lid or plate.

Cook on a moderate heat for 4-5 minutes, then give the pan a good shake and open up to see if the mussels are all open. If not, give them a minute or two more.

Meanwhile, mix the cream with the curry powder or paste until all the grains are dissolved.

Ladle the mussels into bowls, pour over the cream and curry mixture and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with bread and lime wedges to squeeze over.


Pour the leftover mussels into a plastic container and allow to cool before covering and refrigerating. They will need to be eaten over the next 2 days.

The next day- either have them as a starter with a drizzle of persillade over each one as here. (Persillade is a garlicky sauce made from garlic cloves, olive oil, parsley and a little salt pulsed together in a blender or smushed in a pestle and mortar- I'm not specifying how much garlic as that is entirely up to you.)

Heroes in a half-shell

Or make them into a seafood pastotto.

This is my own invention of a pasta risotto- using orzo or pasta shaped like rice/oat grains (called avoines in French).

You will need:
70g-80g of pasta per person
your remaining mussels pulled out of their shells (but keep a few in their shells for garnish)
any cooking liquor from the mussels
1 tin or jar of chopped tomato with chili
1 onion (finely chopped)

Begin, as usual by softening the onion in some olive oil. Add the pasta to the frying onion and stir to absorb the oil.
Add a good glug of tomato and the cooking liquor from the mussels.
Stir (and keep stirring) to absorb the liquid. Add more as you need to.

Taste the pasta- it needs to be the soft side of al dente before it is ready.
When it has reached this stage, stir through the mussels to warm them in the pasta.

Serve in bowls with the reserved mussels as garnish.

Seafood Pastotto

Other recipes on the blog featuring shellfish are shown below with a link to the blog pages where the recipes can be found.


So there you have it- seafood recipes that taste like a million dollars- but you won't need to shell out that much to make and enjoy them!

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