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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Moules Espagnol / Mussels Spanish Style

This is one of my favourite ways of preparing and eating mussels, either as a starter or a main course with plenty of crusty fresh bread.  The combination of chorizo, chilli & tomato is just perfectly Mediterranean.

Here's what you need for 2 of you;  1kg fresh mussels (de-bearded and scrubbed), 50g butter, half an onion chopped, piece of chorizo sausage cut into small chunks, 2-3 cloves garlic sliced, half a tin chopped tomatoes, tomato frito, glass dry white wine, fresh chillies (I like the really small, hot chillies which I grow) & double cream.
I have left some of the quantities out because this is all about taste and cooking from your heart.  Once you have cooked this you can adjust the amount of chorizo, chilli or tomato to suit how you like it for the next time.

Only buy fresh mussels (most nets of mussels have a date of harvest on them - do not buy them if the date is more than 3 days ago.)  To clean them, first put them into a bowl of clean cold water.  On each mussel pull the "beard" which appears between the two halves of the shell, then scrape away any barnacles or other dirt on the shell and place in a cean tub.  Once all the mussels are scrubbed rince them again in clean cold water.  Any broken shells or shells that do not close when handled must be thrown away.

Let's cook these beauties;

1)  in a large pan (large enough to hold all the mussels with room to spare so they can open) put the butter, chopped onion, chillies, chorizo and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes.

2) add a glass of wine, turn up the heat and let the wine start to cook out.

3)  add the mussels to the pan and cover the pan for 1 minute.  Gently shake the pan to move everything round.  The extra heat and steam will start to open the mussels.

4)  add the tomatoes and a spoonful of tomato frito.  Stir into the mussels, which should be open.

5)  boil the sauce and add a good "whoosh" of cream.  Bring the sauce back to the boil and serve.

6)  do not over-cook the mussels (even if you put the sauce back on the heat to reduce it further).  The whole cooking process takes only about 8 minutes.  All the mussel shells should be open, any that do not open after cooking should be discarded.

7)  serve with plenty of crusty bread and a spoon for that sauce!