MUSSELS WITH CIDER CREAM AND LEEKS Serves 2 as a large main course or 4 as a starter
Mussels are sometimes regarded as a poor man's shellfish. However, when properly cooked with the right ingredients, they can be one of the most beautifully tasty dishes that you can produce at home.
Mussels can be foraged along our coastline but they are filter feeders, so you need to know if the waters you collect them from are unpolluted.
It's a much safer bet to buy them from a reputable fishmonger and eat them on the day of purchase. Most mussels you buy from them are farmed in clean coastal waters which are checked to ensure they are suitable to eat.
Run the mussels under cold water and discard any that do not close with a tap of the shell or are broken.
In the restaurant we scrape the shells clean but for home use just give them a good scrub and remove the stringy beards. After another rinse in cold water you’re ready to start cooking.
In this recipe they are steamed with cider, leeks and cream, with earthy and seafood flavours that work so wonderfully together.
1 shallot, finely diced
200ml dry cider
1 leek, cut into matchstick lengths
150ml double cream
1 knob butter
1. Heat a large pan and add the knob of butter.
2. Allow the butter to lightly bubble and add the chopped shallot. Cook for three minutes without colouring.
3. Add the cider, bring to the boil and reduce by half
4. Put in the scrubbed mussels and the leeks, stir and put a lid on the pot
5. Cook until the mussels open. Pour the mussels into a colander capturing the juice in a saucepan underneath. Any mussels that do not open discard – do not be tempted to prise them open.
6. Add the cream to the juices and put back on the heat whilst you spoon the mussels into warmed bowls.
7. Once the cream sauce has simmered pour it over the mussels and serve with some crusty bread.
Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives, Emsworth. Visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377 914.