Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 21 July 2011 Contents WHAT'S COOKING
Page 12 | 21 July, 2011
For a cheaper option, replace
the saffron with a ¼ teaspoon of
24 medium mussels
¼ cup sauvignon blanc
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, diced
400g can Italian tomatoes in juice,
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
flaky sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper to taste
fresh herbs to garnish
Scrub the mussels under cold
running water. Remove the beards.
Heat the wine in a large saucepan.
Add the mussels. Cover and steam
until the mussels open. Shake
occasionally. Discard any that
don't open. Strain the wine and
Heat the oil in the saucepan.
Add the shallots and sauté for
1 minute on low heat. Add the
tomatoes, saffron and strained
wine. Simmer for about 2 minutes.
Add the mussels and heat
Mussels with a tomato saffron
Back in the early 80s when I first
joined a chain of restaurants as marketing manager, mussels were not
on the menu. Convincing management that the versatile shellfish would
become a favourite took considerable persuasion but eventually we
introduced mussels steamed in wine and herbs served as a starter. The
dish proved very popular.
Today there are a few restaurants throughout the country dedicated
almost entirely to serving this shellfish as fritters, soups, stews, in
salads, stir-fries, with pasta and on pizzas. Our green-lipped mussel
(Perna canaliculus) has provided the kiss of life for the aquaculture
industry with New Zealand exporting GreenshellTM mussels to over 50
Luckily mussels are economical -- they are sometimes called the poor
man's oyster. They are a great source of protein, low in calories and fat,
contain a number of vitamins and minerals and are easily digested.
Mussels can provide a quick family meal or can be dressed up to serve
at a posh dinner.
Hints for preparing mussels
• Choose live mussels with tightly closed shells. However, if the shells
are just slightly open, they may still be alive. Give them a tap or hold
under running water to see if they close. If they do, they are edible.
• Store mussels covered with a damp cloth on a rack placed over a
bowl in the refrigerator. They should not be kept in water or ice.
• Clean them in a bowl of cold water, scrubbing with a stiff-bristled
brush or pot scrub.
• Using scissors, trim the beards just before cooking. If the beards
are pulled off, it shocks the mussel causing the tendons to tense and
• Cook the mussels in a heavy saucepan or wok either in a little oil with
herbs and spices or in a ¼ cup of water or wine. They will normally take
about 5 minutes to open.
• Mussels that don't open after steaming are dead and should be
discarded. However, if they open just a little they are still alive.
300g pottle marinated mussels
1 small onion, or shallot, diced
¼ cup parsley sprigs
salt and freshly ground black
pepper to taste
½-1 teaspoon diced chilli, optional
2 eggs, separated
1 cup coarsely chopped mung bean
¼ cup self-raising flour
½ cup milk or coconut milk
rice bran oil for frying
Drain the mussels and place in
a food processor.
Add the shallot
(or onion), parsley
egg yolks. Blend,
until smooth. (A
is also excellent
for chopping the
Remove to a bowl. Stir in the bean
sprouts, flour and milk. Mix well.
Beat the egg whites until stiff
peaks form. Lightly fold into the
Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying
pan. Place heaped tablespoons
of the mixture into the pan. Cook
until bubbles appear on the top
then flip over.
Excellent served with steamed
greens and kumara chips.
Family favourite mussel fritters
2 cups fish stock
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 teaspoon each: dried basil,
3 tablespoons each: canola oil, rice
400g can light coconut milk
20 steamed mussels, minced --
about 1 cup
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice or to
Bring the fish stock to the boil with
the herbs. Simmer for 1 minute
then remove from the heat. Cover
and allow the herbs to infuse in
the stock. When cold, strain.
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan
and stir in the rice flour. Gradually
whisk in the coconut milk and the
stock, stirring and cooking until
Simmer for 3 minutes then add
the mussels. Season and add the
Great served garnished with whole
mussels in the shell, chopped
fresh herbs or diced chilli.
Coconut & herb mussel soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
1 large tomato, cubed
1 cup white wine or fish stock
36 mussels, cleaned and
½ cup flat-leaf parsley
salt to taste
½ cup cream
Heat the olive oil in a large
saucepan over medium heat. Stir
in the shallots and garlic. Cook
until tender. Stir in the fennel and
Continue cooking for about 5min.
Pour half the wine into the
saucepan. Bring to the boil.
Add the mussels, a ¼ cup of the
parsley and salt.
Cover and continue cooking about
5 minutes, until the mussels have
Discard any that do not. Stir in the
remaining wine and the cream.
Serve the mussels in bowls
topped with the sauce. Garnish
with the remaining parsley and
Serves 6 as a starter.
Steamed mussels with fennel
A finely chopped kaffir lime leaf could also be added.
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