I adore devouring big bowls of French and simply cooked mussels. Albeit shamefully with a dainty bowl (large bucket) of lightly salted (heavily salted) crispy French fires (never chips….its got to be fries. Like the ones McDonalds do). I have many happy memories of enjoying this meal with my best friend in our local Wiltshire gastro pub with a side order of gossip after a relaxing ride. Seeing as she’s embarked on an adventure to Abu Dhabi to conquer the world of financial advising and make us our millions I could only experiment with the classic moules mariniere and wish she was here to enjoy it with me.
After following the ever dramatic and addictive Masterchef final this week, one of my favourite chefs Tom Kerridge showcased one of his signature dishes. His take on the classic moules served with a creamy topped stoat foam. Whilst I love mussels I often finish the meal still feeling hungry, dissatisfied and with sticky garlicky fingers. So, picked from the protective homes of their shells and tossed in a creamy sauce Tom’s method seemed like a much more relaxing eat. This is certainly a cheap eat (£1.50 for a bag of mussels!) that boasts rich expensive flavour that looks and tastes luxurious. My take on moules mariniere with crushed new potatoes and crispy skinned seabass.
(By the way, the reason I always use seabass is I LOVE IT! But feel free to use another white fish here such as bream, cod of haddock.)
- 2 seabass fillets
- 1kg mussels,
- About 8 small new potatoes
- Handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1-2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely diced
- 1 glass dry white wine
- Large knob butter (about 30g)
- 4 tbsp creme fraiche
- To serve – lemon, green beans/samphire
- Start by cleaning and de-bearding the mussels. Chuck away any with cracked shells or that are open and don’t shut quickly when tamped sharply on the kitchen surface (Only cook closed mussels; only eat open ones).
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. For the potatoes, par-boil until soft but make sure they are not waterlogged and falling apart and drain. Crush lightly with the back of a fork, season well and toss with olive oil.
- Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until crispy.
- For the mussels and sauce heat the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat until it beings to foam adding a little oil to stop it burning. Add the garlic, carrot and shallot and gently soften for about ten minutes.
- Turn up the heat and add the wine. Reduce slightly. Add the mussels to the pan, place the lid on and allow to simmer for about 3-4 minutes. The mussels are ready as soon as they open.
- Once open remove the pan from the heat. Carefully pick the mussel meat from the shells (discard these) and return the meat to the wine sauce. Place back on the heat and simmer gently to reduce slightly. Add the creme fraiche and season to taste. Finally stir in the parsley and a little lemon juice and keep warm while you fry the fish.
- Get a pan on a medium high heat. Season the fish and score the skin to prevent it curling in the pan.
- Fry skin side down for about 3 minutes, finishing for the finish minute on the flesh side.
- Serve the creamy sauce with the potatoes and fish. Serve with green beans or samphire and a squeeze of lemon juice.
WINE: Try a lovely Chablis such as Domaine Sebastien Dampt 2014 available at Armit Wines