Quick and Easy Meals with Mussels
Mussels really should feature in a lot more homecooked meals; they're affordable, simple to cook and with a little bit of attention, easy to prepare for cooking too. Often a favourite when we're dining out, but sometimes overlooked in the home kitchen, mussels are tasty and won't break the bank. They're rich in B vitamins and iron too.
Preparing mussels isn't complex and there's no need to be daunted. Just follow a few simple rules and you'll be fine.
Prepping mussels should only take a few minutes. When you pick up mussels from your fishmonger, they usually will have been already cleaned. All they need is a rinse and perhaps a quick scrub to get any grit or dust off. Tap off any shells or barnacles and make sure to pull off any mussel beards along the way. Make sure not to pull them the length of the shell as you don't want them opening before cooking. When mussels are cooked remember not to try to open and eat unopened ones.
We've put together some of our favourite mussels dishes, from tried and tested French classics to a full of flavour Asian inspired meals.
Whether you think that cream in moules marinières is a culinary crime or whether you wouldn't make yours without it, it's a dish that is far more tasty than the simple preparation would suggest. Simple ingredients and a few minutes cooking time and you've a great dish.
Felicity Cloake in this Guardian article, goes into great detail of who thinks what and she's included what she thinks is the best moules marinières recipe. Raymond Blanc reckons cream is fine in the dish and he's a Frenchman with two Michelin stars, so that must be the go ahead for adding cream. You can check out his recipe here. If you like garlic and cream, we think this Rick Stein recipe is the one to go for. It's short and simple and packs a lot of flavour. Whichever recipe you choose, moules marinières makes a great starter or main course. Serve with some white crusty bread and you're good to go.
Tomatoes and Mussels
Mussels and tomatoes were made for each other. There are lots of simple recipes to go for. Chop some garlic and tomatoes. Add to a pot with a glass of wine or a drop of water and put in your mussels and cook (as above). Serve with some chopped parsley and you've a fresh and tasty meal in minutes. Grind some black pepper over them or add a few shakes of chilli flakes for a little extra bite. If you're looking for a nice tomato and chilli mussel dish, this recipe from the BBC Good Food website should do the trick.
If you love pasta and seafood, there's a lovely linguine recipe from Aoileann Garavaglia on the RTE website. A light tomato sauce with mussels tossed with linguine wouldn't go amiss when you get to entertain friends. You can check out the recipe here.
Spice it Up a Bit
Mussels with an Indian flavoured twist are wonderful. Mussels can handle lots of vibrant ingredients, so don't be afraid to mix it up a bit. We like this Mussel Masala Recipe from the Happy Foodie. All the ingredients are easily bought in the supermarket. If you don't have Kashmiri chilli powder, don't fret; any hot chilli powder can be used as a substitute.
The Food Network is a great online resource for Asian inspired mussel dishes. This South-East Asian style mussel dish has lots of peanut, coconut, lemongrass and ginger for a fresh Thai style flavour. It's really good and again, easy to make in little time.
Whatever way you decide to cook your mussels, remember that they take very little time to cook, so keep an eye on them. Served in a sauce, with bread or in a dish with pasta or noodles, mussels can make a flavour packed meal in minutes.
About Nicky's Plaice
We're a family run business on the West Pier in the Dublin fishing village of Howth. Opened in 1961 by fisherman Nicky McLoughlin, we've now three generations of the family working together to bring you the best in fresh fish and seafood, the best home smoked salmon and seafood snacks to go at weekends.
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