Posts tagged mussels

Moules Mariniere Sauce, Crushed Potatoes, Crispy Seabass


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.)

Serves 2

  • 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
  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until crispy.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Get a pan on a medium high heat. Season the fish and score the skin to prevent it curling in the pan.
  8. Fry skin side down for about 3 minutes, finishing for the finish minute on the flesh side.
  9. 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


Jess - Chablis

Bouillabaisse with Rouille, Sourdough Croutons and Samphire

Bouillabaisse is a Provencal fish stew. This is probably one of my favourite dishes and I love to spend an afternoon making it properly from scratch, however, don’t be put off, it can be done quicker I just like to take my time!

Contents (serves 4)

  • 1 x tinned tomatoes
  • 1 litre homemade fish stock
  • a pinch of saffron
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • mixed seafood- I used 1xgurnard, 1xbream and 1 large hake fillet, filleted and chopped into chunks. Reserve the fish bones/heads for the stock
  • 12-15 raw crevettes/prawns- peeled, shells retained
  • Handful of mussels
  • Bunch flat-leaf parsley, stalk reserved for stock
  • Samphire, steamed for about 3 minutes, to serve
  • Rouille, to serve

Soup base

  • 1 large bulb fennel
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • Small glass white wine/Pernod

Fish Stock

  • Bones, head and tails or the fish (about 2 carcases) or ask your fishmonger for some free scraps
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 sticks celery, halved
  • Stalks of flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • Salt
  • 2 litre cold water
  1. Start by making the fresh fish stock but if using a cube, skip to stage 4.
  2. Place all the ingredients into a large pan (except the salt) and cover with the water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that comes to the surface and discard.
  3. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, but no longer. Season to taste and then strain and reserve the stock for use later.
  4. Now start on the soup base. Chop the vegetables and fry gently in some oil in a large pot with the fennel seeds, bay leaves and parsley. Cover with a cartouche (a round shaped piece of parchment) to prevent the vegetable catching and to help soften them. Reduce the heat and soften for 40 minutes.
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  6. After 40 minutes, increase the heat and caramelize the vegetables for a few minutes until tinged with brown. Add a small glass of white wine and simmer for 1 minute before adding the tomatoes, 600-800ml fish stock and a pinch of saffron and cayenne and season. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 1 hour. Meanwhile…….

A traditional bouillabaisse has a ‘tomatoey’ sauce flavour, however, I have adapted various recipes to bring out the best in the flavours I like best. Feel free to skip this step but it wholeheartedly adds a deep, rich, fishy punch to the soup base. Here I have made a prawn stock/reduction using the reserved shells.

  1. Fry the reserved prawn/crevette shells and heads in a little oil for about 5 minutes, until they turn a beautiful deep orange and release their juices
  2. Add a splash of wine and simmer for 1 minute, before adding a large spoonful of the simmering soup base and then top up with about 200ml of fish stock.
  3. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. After this time, strain and retain the prawn stock, season and discard the shells.


8.   After 1 hour, puree the soup with a hand blender (not too smooth, don’t worry if there are a few lumps) and add the prawn reduction (If not using, add fish stock to obtain your required consistency)

9.   Finally, add the chunks of fish and on a very low simmer, cook the fish for about 6-7 minutes before adding the shelled prawns and mussels. With a lid on, cook for a few minutes until the mussels are open and the prawns are cooked.

10.  Serve in deep, warmed bowls topped with samphire and scattered with chopped parsley and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. I devoured mine with the traditional mayonnaise- Rouille and giant sourdough croutons