26 December 2010

Home Cooking: Mussels Calabrian with Champagne (26 Dec 2010)

Cooking with Champagne

When I come across a simple recipe I tend to save the link to my blog for future reference and today I have the chance to try the Mussels Calabrian recipe which was posted by The Heart of Food because I forgot I had mussels in the fridge for Christmas Day. I made a couple of modifications like using a whole tomato instead of half and used some left over Henkell Trocken because I didn't have any white wine available. I liked how it was a very simple recipe but provided some decent simple flavour although next time I'll probably just add lemon juice rather than including the rind because I found it made the broth a bit bitter and I think adding some sugar would help round off the tomato flavour when cooking.

Unfortunately there were quite a few unopened mussels left in the pot after cooking but I still ended up eating them. If you've never eaten unopened mussels and always throw them out because you've always been told they should be then have a read of Dr Karl's Mussel myth an open and shut case. It's been a few hours now and I'm still feeling OK — fingers crossed. The biggest problem I find eating closed mussels is they can sometimes be a real bugger to open but if they smell or look at all bad then obviously do not eat them. Always buy quality mussels from reputable suppliers and if you have the time you can check if they're still alive but tapping them when open and they should close.

1 clove of garlic minced
Sprig of parsley chopped
Small stick of celery chopped
1 tomato chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 splashes of white wine (champagne seems to work too)
Black pepper to taste
Half a lemon chopped (next time would just be lemon juice)
Next time: Try adding a tablespoon of sugar

Place all ingredients in a pot. Squeeze it all together through your hands to release the juices. Place the mussels in the pot. Cover with lid and turn on to high heat. Cook and steam the mussels for a few minutes until they open. I mix and shake the juices over the mussels at least a couple of times during the cooking. Take mussels out of pot with or without broth and enjoy.

Boston Bay blue mussels ($7.99/kg De Costi Seafoods)


Place all ingredients in a pot

Squeeze all ingredients together with your hands

Place mussels in pot

Cover pot with lid and put on high heat

Cook mussels for a couple of minutes until most have opened

Serve mussels with bread to mop up broth. I'd recommend not eating the lemon rind and perhaps sifting the broth.

Unopened mussels — I try and eat them now if they look and smell OK


sara @ Belly Rumbles said...

I was at the same evening as Simon from the Heart of Food. Really is a wonderful recipe and yes, so so simple!!

Merry Christmas Simon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe, looks so delicious and easy to make!

tangerine eats said...

You're right, this is a great and simple recipe! I don't see any problems with eating a "dead" mussel either.. let's see how you are in a month ;)

YaYa said...

hehe, I saw the same thing by Dr Karl and have been merrily eating unopened mussels as well, though I tend to leave them alone if I really have to struggle to pull the shells open, no ill effects yet, fingers crossed! Merry Christmas Simon!

Dolly said...


wish i could get more seafood.. unfortunately.. KEN HATES SEAFOOD. the pain i go thru.

bungalow has unlimited mussels... i need an eating companion !!!

live music bars san francisco said...

Nice recipe. Looks delicious and easy to cook. Thanks for posting.

Simon Leong said...

hi sara, merry xmas to you too. i love simple recipes that don't have complicated ingredients :-)

hi anonymous, hope it works for you too!

hi tangerine eats, so far so good. hopefully it doesn't take a month to surface something bad :-)

hi yaya, the really struggle ones i leave but most of them i can get open. fingers crossed for no ill effects too!

hi dolly, that means more for you. just order the seafood platter for one. i've been to bungalow for all you can eat mussels. successfully ate nearly 3 pots http://simonfoodfavourites.blogspot.com/2009/02/bungalow-8-all-you-can-eat-mussels-10.html

hi live music, hope you get to try soon. san fran should hopefully have some good mussels being close to the water :-)

susan said...

how interesting about the unopened mussels. I have always been adament about throwing the unopened ones away due to chefs saying so. I always smell seafood before I eat it and I would say that is the best way to go!

Simon Leong said...

hi susan, i would have been the same until one day it was questioned. so with a bit of research it's amazing what we discover :-)

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