SINGING COCKLES AND MUSSELS....ALIVE, ALIVE OH!
THAI MUSSELS Mussels are a low fat, fast and unbelievably cheap meal. Take yourself to sunnier times with these delicious Thai flavours, the mussels can really handle the heat Serves 2 INGREDIENTS 1kg Mussels washed and debearded Oil 4 spring onions, finely sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced Small bunch of coriander, stalks removed, finely chopped 1 lemongrass stick, cut into 4 pieces 1 red chilli, finely sliced 400ml coconut milk 1tbsp fish sauce 1 lime Discard any mussels that are not tightly closed or wonâ€™t close when they are tapped on the side of the sink. In a saucepan heat a little oil and soften the spring onion, garlic, lemongrass, coriander stalks and most of the chilli, for roughly 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and fish sauce and bring to the boil. Add the mussels and cover the pan, steam for around 5 minutes, till the mussels are open and cooked. Discard any unopened mussels. Finish with a squeeze of lime and sprinkle with the coriander leaves and the remaining chilli.
MUSSEL BROSE This regional dish of Scotland Brose means a thick broth, or an old fashioned potage. The most common thickener in Scotland was oatmeal, which adds a delicious taste and texture to this warming broth. Serve alongside your favourite hunk of bread. Serves 4 Plump up the mussels (and aid cleaning them) by covering them with cold salted water the night before and add two handfuls of porridge oats and leave them to stand in a cold place overnight. 2.5 litres of mussels 150ml water 150ml white wine 3 level tablespoons of oatmeal (jumbo rolled oats) 30g butter 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped 300ml milk 300ml single cream Salt and freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley After plumping them up the night before discard any mussels which are not tightly shut or that do not shut when tapped on the corner of the sink. Put the mussels in a large heavy based pan alongside the water and wine. Place the lid on tightly and turn up the heat high for 5 minutes, shaking occasionally to prevent burning or sticking. The mussel shells should open, Strain off the mussels but reserve the juices, water and wine from the pan. Set the mussels aside until they are cool enough to eat. Meanwhile bake the oatmeal in a preheated oven on a baking tray at 150C, until it is golden brown. Alternatively you can toast them in a dry frying pan. Use a blunt knife and take the mussels from the shells. Heat the butter in a clean saucepan and cook the shallots over a low heat until they are translucent and soft. Stir frequently to prevent burning. When the shallots are soft add the mussels, milk and cream and gently heat through without boiling. Put the reserved mussel juice into a small saucepan- bring to the boil- reduce then stir in the toasted oatmeal. Mix well and add to the Brose whilst off the heat- the soup must not boil or it will curdle. Season to taste, transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle over the parsley. Enjoy!
CHOWDER WITH OATCAKES This is a truly delicious Scottish comforting classic taken from Sue Lawrence. Whilst mussels are generally available sustainably and locally year round, adapt the white fish accordingly, smoked haddock is a delicious alternative. Serves 4 Scrub the mussels, discarding any open ones that do not close when tapped on the edge of the sink. Peel the potatoes and chop one into chunks and place in boiling salted water. Dice the other two and sweat alongside the leeks and onions in the butter or bacon fat for roughly ten minutes. Meanwhile, warm the milk with the bay leaves, and add to the pan with the fish stock. Add the mussels and bring to the boil, for around three minutes or until the mussels open. Remove the mussels and take the meat from their shells. Put these to one side, discarding any mussels that have remained closed. Next mash the third boiled potato and add it, with the fish fillets and the cream, to the milk and stock mixture. Bring to a simmer, stir, and then cook gently for about three minutes or until the fish is just cooked. Return the mussel meat to the pan and check the seasoning. Serve in warmed bowls with crumbled pieces of oatcakes sprinkled over the top. Add a dusting of parsley and serve straight away.
INGREDIENTS 500g mussels 3 large potatoes Salt and freshly ground pepper 1 small leek, chopped 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped 25g butter (or bacon fat) 600ml milk 2 bay leaves 600ml fish stock 500g Pollock or coley, cut into chunks 150ml double cream Oatcakes