Now is the season for Mussels (it runs from October to March) One of the best ways to cook them is Moules Mariniere. If you haven’t tried them before this easy recipe is a good place to start. As with many shellfish dishes simple cooking is often the very best way. However there are many different variations with different herbs, cream or other spices and curries that are also delicious.

This Moules Mariniere recipe will serve four people. It makes a great lunch or supper. With smaller portions it can be a good starter too. Allow about 15 minutes for preparation and cooking

Ingredients for this Moules Mariniere Recipe

2kg Fresh Mussels from Walter Purkis and Sons, washed de-bearded and scrubbed
30g butter
1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 celery stick chopped
150ml dry white wine
150ml water or stock
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 bay leaves
salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Method for cooking Moules Mariniere

  1. Wash, scrub  and  de-beard the mussels. (The “Beards” are small brown threads that can be found sticking out from the joint between the two shell halves. The are the remains of the animals tethering system that attaches it to a rock or other underwater surface.  Pull the beard hard towards the hinge or more pointed end of the mussel. Remove it completely and throw away.) While you are cleaning look for any open shells, if you find one tap it on your work top – any that do not close when tapped should be discarded. If you are not ready to cook right away put the cleaned mussels in a fresh bowl of cold water until ready to use. You might want to change this water to remove any salt or sand that comes out of the mussels.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and lightly fry the onion, celery and garlic, until the onions are soft and transparent.
  3. Next add the liquids, bay leaves and seasonings and bring to the boil. Add the mussels all at once, and cover and cook over a high heat, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  4.  When all mussels have opened (discard any that remain closed) transfer to a heated serving dish, reserving the liquid.
  5. return the liquid to the heat and boil rapidly until reduced by half, stir in parsley and season to taste.
  6. Pour the sauce over the mussels, before serving with French bread. (They also are great combination with french fries.)