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Pulling mussels from the shell

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Deliciously sweet and nutty, mussels are also one of the most sustainable types of shellfish you can buy. Try these classic French recipes.

Cream of mussel soup 

Serves 4

• 750 g mussels, washed and debearded
• 4 tbsp dry white wine
• 50 g butter
• 225 g celeriac, peeled and chopped
• 120 g leek, sliced
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• 750 ml fish stock
• 3 saffron strands
• 175 g tomatoes, chopped
• 4 tbsp crème fraiche

Cook the mussels in 2 tablespoons of wine over a high heat for 3 minutes until open. (As with any mussel recipe, throw away any mussels that remain closed after cooking.) Sieve the mussels and collect the cooking juices. Remove the meat from three quarters of the shells. Melt the butter in a separate pan, then add the celeriac, leek, garlic and remaining wine. Cover and cook gently for 5 minutes. Put the reserved mussel water in a measuring jug and make up to 900 millilitres with the fish stock. Add to the pan of vegetables, along with the saffron and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool, and blend until smooth. Bring to the boil, then stir in the crème fraiche. Stir in the mussels to warm them. Serve garnished with the mussels still in their shells.

 

Mussel pasta

Serves 2

• 2 garlic cloves, sliced
• 1-2 pinches of dried chilli
• 1 anchovy fillet
• 15 g butter
• 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
• 250 g spaghetti
• 1 kg mussels, washed and debearded
• Parsley leaves, chopped

Fry the garlic, dried chilli and anchovy in the butter. Add the tomatoes, crushing them as you do so. In a separate pot, boil the pasta until al denté. Meanwhile, add the mussels to the tomato sauce. Then place a lid on top and cook for 3 minutes, shaking the pan every now and then until the mussels have opened. Add a handful of parsley. Drain the pasta, saving a little of the cooking water, and mix in the mussel sauce. Drizzle over with olive oil and season to taste.


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