Loving mussels in my family is hereditary. It's in the genes.
My mum loved mussels so much that she ended up allergic to them.
At least we would like to think it was a self-induced allergy! It makes for a better story.... a truly tragic story.
She always ordered them. Everywhere she went. They were her favourite alongside fresh oysters.
Out of the blue, after enjoying them for dinner one time, she felt unwell and put it down to food poisoning. When it happened again she realised it must be a mild reaction to her beloved mussels. Thinking she'd had enough 'time between mussels' she again ordered them out in Adelaide after a conference one year. The reaction that time was so severe she thought she could have died.
From that point on, no more mussels for mum ever again. She was, of course, irrationally devastated - as any good foodie would be.
From here on in, and being a thoughtful loving husband, dad took full advantage of her plight and revelled in ordering them whenever they popped up on a menu. He loved that he wouldn't have to share them anymore. Not even one. This had multiple benefits, as he not only inherited the 'mussel loving gene', but a good streak of the 'scally-wag tormenting' gene from his own father. The joke would never get old. I can picture this scene in my head easily: steaming bowl of mussels, dad slowly devouring delicious mussels and mum... dreaming of throwing them at him! She would have been fuming seeing and smelling those mussels knowing she couldn't steal one.
That's my parents for you. And that's true love! Now that we no longer have mum here with us, it's memories like this we love, and dad absolutely loves telling those stories now.
My 'mussel loving' gene has endured a prolonged craving over the past few weeks and I have finally managed to satisfy it with this delicious feast for two. Thrown together with a few things from the pantry and fridge, you'd never imagine it could taste so good. I really need to make mussels more often. They are quick, cheap, simple and absolutely fantastic and are destined to become a regular in our house this winter.
If you haven't ventured into the world of mussel making in your own kitchen yet, give it a go. You'll be surprised at how easy it really is.
Make it in bigger batches and throw in on the table with piles of warm crusty bread and some bottles of white wine. They'll be using you for your mussel making powers... but I swear it will make you more friends!
MUSSELS IN A CREAMY WHITE WINE BROTH
1kg mussels, live, cleaned and de-bearded
3 eschalots, finely sliced
2 peeled, crushed and chopped garlic cloves
Dry white wine (approximately one giant swig + some for the chef)
1 tsp butter
1/2 cup thickened cream
Fresh flat leaf parsley (amount to your taste), finely chopped
Salt and cracked pepper
Crusty bread to serve
1. Heat a large pot on the stove over a medium high heat. Add olive oil. When heated add the eschalots and garlic, stirring until aromatic. Deglaze the pot by pouring in a good amount of white wine (approximately 1 cup) ensuring it covers the eschalot and garlic mixture. Bring to the boil and simmer until the liquid begins to reduce slightly.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you pour yourself a glass of white wine after pouring some into the pot. A little home chef inspiration.
2. Add the mussels, stir and cover with a lid. Remove the lid and stir 2-3 times over 3-5 minutes or until the mussel shells open. Add the butter and half of the parsley, stirring it through until combined into the broth. Remove the mussels from the heat. Stir through the cream. Season to taste.
3. Serve the mussels in bowls with remaining parsley sprinkled on top and the crusty bread.
Get messy and enjoy!
A heart warming bowl of mussels needs a good glass or three of white wine. The creamy nature of this particular broth really lends itself well to a chardonnay (please give the new world chardonnays a chance!), but if that's not your thing then a good bottle of semillon or a viogner will do just fine.
Follow @tippleandfodder on Instagram for more inspiration to tickle your tastebuds.
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