I’ve mentioned before that cooking with fish used to scare me, cooking with mussels even more so. Something about the word ‘beard’ and ‘remove with knife’ just didn’t sit right with me.
When I spotted a bag of gorgeous fresh Port Lincoln, South Australian mussels by Kinkawooka Shellfish recently at the markets that proclaimed to be ‘Scrubbed and cleaned for your convenience’ I just knew I had to have them! No bearding necessary!
I adore mussels, especially when it combines wine and garlic. One glass of wine for the pot, three for me.
Many moons ago in our pre baby travelling years, my husband and I went on a Mediterranean holiday that incorporated a 10 night cruise, all expenses included. Our first port of call was Dubrovnik, Croatia. I remember walking stunning streets in the old city and a sweet gentleman approached us asking if we’d like a bucket of mussels that were caught fresh that morning. Moules Marinière was the special of the day. My husband said something on the lines of ‘but we already have all our meals included on the ship’. Hmmm now I’m sure the grub on the cruise ship was excellent, but when in Europe, experience as much of it as possible and that includes eating at local restaurants. So we pulled up a seat, ate our body weight in mussels, drank lots of local wine and we had THE MOST INCREDIBLE MEAL EVER. I’ll never forget it, the scene was perfect, the mussels were drowning in garlic and I can still taste it if I close my eyes. The whole meal, for the two of us including wine, calamari, char grilled bread, dessert and coffee came in at around $20 Australian.
I’ve tried to recreate the flavours but it’ll never beat the Dubrovnik meal. Maybe it’s because the mussels weren’t picked that day. Maybe it’s because I don’t have the Mediterranean sea air floating through my kitchen or maybe it’s just an excuse so I can go back one day and eat their version again. My version is fabulous and mouth-watering, but the Dubrovnik meal was something else!
Mussels in white wine, garlic and butter sauce. Serves 2 as a main or 4 as entrée
- 1kg mussels, cleaned and bearded
- 4 -5 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 ½ glass white wine
- 5 tomatoes, diced
- Bunch of parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Bunch of basil, chopped (I used 3 ‘ice cubes’ of basil that I had pre chopped and frozen in ice cube trays)
Combine the minced garlic and butter in the largest pot you have, and sauté gently on medium until fragrant, for about a minute.
Add the diced tomatoes and stir for a further minute. Add wine and let it the alcohol boil away for about 3-4 minutes.
Add the mussels to the pot, give it all a shake and close the lid. Let the mussels steam away for a few minutes until they open. Don’t shake it too hard, you don’t want bits of broken shells in the liquid.
When the mussels open, turn off the heat and throw in the parsley and basil. Stir until wilted and remove from the heat. Discard any unopened mussels.
Serve with hot crusty bread as an entrée or with some plain boiled rice as a main.
There is nothing like wine mixed with seafood! Love seafood and love mussles…really miss seafood, can’t get it much here….:-(
what a shame Amelia! You’ll have to make up for it when you come back x
I too love mussels prepared your way [including the wine consumption!] and I do think the ‘good old days’ in the ‘Yugoslavian’ countries with their prices are past for good! My biggest culinary mistake was trying to cook them in the one pot for about ten people . . . well the little so-and-sos would not open so I shook them and shook them till they did! Well: that wine sauce around them was quite undeliciously full of shell grit, wasn’t it . . . now only do them for 4-6 😀 !
oh yes, however I must say Dubrovnik was the only place we visited that hadn’t converted to Euros yet and we were richer because of it.
Oh dear, shell is definitely not something you want to serve to party guests!
The live black mussels are incredible aren’t they? I bought a couple of kilos before and they turned out so soft and tender I was amazed! 🙂
YUM! I don’t think I’m brave enough to try the live variety. One of these days, though! I’ll get there 😉
I think you did use live mussels Lisa — it says so on the bag. I would never, ever, cook dead ones. Were they frozen? I would not have thought so as they would not open on cooking.
Love mussels and your recipe sounds good. Normally Moules Marinière (in France in any case) would not include tomatoes but I must say it sounds good.
yep you’re absolutely right, I feel like a complete dill! Of course they’re live!! I had this image in my head of ‘snappy’ mussels!
Yes, traditional Moules Mariniere is cream based, and not tomato, however this is as close I could get to the Croatian version I tried. Still tastes fabulous, give it a try 🙂
Ha Ha Ha !!! Will be in France soon so will try your recipe with the lovely blue north sea mussels — we cannot get them here (Macau, China).
Oh — and I just love the name “Kinkawooka” !!
Those mussels are my favorite kind to eat and cook with. They’re sold here as “New Zealand” mussels, and when I see them I grab them. The wine/garlic combo is a classic winner.
we get NZ mussels here too, but they’re very different to the Aussie variety. NZ mussels are quite large and much fleshier. Still taste fab though
Your dish looks wonderful! Simple yet exquisite
Thank you so much!
Lisa, I’m the same with mussels – I think I’ve watched too many of those cooking shows about how you have to only use the ones that close, or maybe you’re not supposed to eat the ones that don’t open…aargh..I can’t remember. What did you do when you made this delicious dish?
LOL Celia, I know, it’s all so confusing. And the last thing you want to do is poison your family! We discard any unopened mussels. You want to buy them firmly closed, they should steam open and any that don’t, throw them out.
What a wonderful memory. I’m still pretty scared to cook seafood. I’ve had a few disasters and it’s rather pricey to mess up. Yours look great!
take the plunge Claire, you’ll realise it’s easier than you think!
Love your idea of “One glass of wine for the pot, three for me.” Wish we could get fresh from the sea mussels or any seafood for that matter. Your dish looks and sounds delicious.
Thanks Norma, sometimes it’s one glass for the pot, one bottle for me 😉
Hi Lisa, I can taste that meal ….. lucky you. Mussels sound so easy to make, I would like to do it but Maus is a bit of a pain. She doesn’t really like them.
I can still taste it too, it was so good!
We made similar dishes this weekend! Yours sounds fantastic 🙂
Great minds think alike 🙂
I think it’s great you can buy mussels that have already been cleaned – that certainly is a time-saver. Cooking mussels in this way is one of my husband’s most favourite dishes xx
oh so much easier Charlie! PS, love your new profile photo, you look beautiful x
Your method here sounds so very good, Lisa, especially the advice to serve with crusty bread. You don’t want to waste one drop of sauce in the bottom of that bowl!
oh absolutely John. And when we run out of bread, we hold the bowl up to our mouths and unashamedly drink the liquid gold 🙂
Ooo, scrumptious! I think I would have to enjoy a double portion!
🙂 Mandy xo
It’s so easy to Mandy, you get this huge plate in front of you but it’s all shell and little meat! I wouldn’t mind a double portion next time 😉
A beautiful dish… and I love your clear photographs and instructions… might add this to my menu : )
Thanks so much Lizzy, hope you enjoy the meal as much as we did x
I had no idea you could buy mussels like this! What a great way to put together an impressive meal.
I know right? Clean, washed, scrubbed and ready for the pot. It’s just TOO easy!
You make me so happy when I come here. You’re cute, clever and quirky – and very special. Love your mussels!
Shucks 🙂 Maureen you made my day xx
What a lovely image of travel this evokes.. it must have been just the best experience! I didn’t remember these have “beards”.. I’ve made them once, what if I left the beards on, lol? Love the look of this recipe, Lisa!! My hubs would love it! xx
LOL Smidge, you’d definitely know if you left them on! They’d be pretty hairy and gritty!
I confess I have been afraid of Muscles. I’m from Iowa and they are ALIEN to us! I LOVE eating them however and will have to try one day. I love to cook! I’ll have to so I’ll use this recipe it looks DELICIOUS!
Hiya Jasmine thanks for stopping by! I just had an image of Alien Mussels and it was hilarious! Thanks for making me giggle 😉
Your very welcome!
OH THIS IS A LOVELY SEAFOOD PREPARATION,BEAUTIFUL AROMAS AND FLAVORS 🙂
Thanks you Kumar!
Yum!! I adore mussels, and am so lucky to live a stones throw from Portarlington which is know for its mussel farming and the annual Mussel Festival. So we get fresh plump juicy mussels year round. Would love to have you down for a big mussel cook off one day! 🙂
Oh Fi, I’d love to be there for that cook off! Just googled Portarlington, what a beautiful little city, you’re lucky to have fresh mussels so close by xx
My hubby would of loved to be at your place when you served this up, he loves mussels. We don’t eat them very often he orders them when we are out. Great recipe, maybe I could make them for him next time he returns.
You may be a convert yourself Lizzie, hope you like them!
Nice indeed! Plump, juicy mussels and all that delicious sauce- yummo!