A little while ago at the beginning of October it was the start of the mussel season! As I love mussels and this is a very happy time for me and something I look forward to. When the season first starts some of the mussels can be a bit on the small side, but even a few weeks in they are lovely, fat and juicy. Sustainable, low fat and quick to cook I think that a bowl of mussels is a great dish to relax with after a hectic day.
My usual go to recipe for mussels is my version of moule marinere – plenty of garlic, white wine and some crème fraiche. However these lovely little mollusks work well with a wide variety of flavours so I thought this year I might be a bit more adventurous and try some new recipes.
My local supermarket stocks some beautiful fresh loose mussels which are rope grown up near Mont St Michel. Unfortunately for me it seems that I’m not the only person round my area that likes these mussels as since the beginning of October, despite many visits to the shop, I have only been able to get hold of some on four occasions!
The first recipe I had a go at was Mussels with Cider, Bacon and Leeks.
This was delicious. Although I used a brut cider the apples combined with the leeks still gave it a real sweetness that worked really well with the smokiness of the allumnettes and brought out the mussels own naturel sweetness.
Next up was Mussels with Tomato and Chilli
As this involved peeling the tomatoes it was a little bit more work than the cider recipe, but it was still a quick dish to prepare and the result was well worth it. The mussels stood up really well to the good kick of spice from the chili. The whole thing was very moreish. It was the only none creamy recipe that I tried but despite being a light sauce it was just as rich and satisfying.
A couple of weeks later I had a go at Creamy Curry Moule
This is a version of moule that I had tried when eating out and enjoyed. Alongside marinere it seems to be a popular option round by me. I researched various recipes online and put together the one I posted, however I was pretty disappointed with the result. There was a quite bitter flavour and a grainy texture from the curry powder and the whole dish just didn’t have the fresh vitality mussel dishes normally have. I have to confess that I did not really enjoy it. I do think a better quality curry powder would probably have produced a tastier result, but even the version I had in the restaurant pales compared to the other recipes I tried at home.
The final recipe I’ve managed to try is Goan Mussels.
I have no idea if this is a traditional Goan dish or not, but I loved it anyway. It was unusual in that there was no alcohol involved, instead the cooking liquor was made from coconut cream. For a dish with so many spices and flavours the result was delicate and fragrant. I’m a big fan of coconut milk and so I enjoyed this dish immensely. I even ended up grabbing extra bread to make sure none of the liquor was wasted!
There must be something magical about mussels. It’s quite amazing that meals with so few ingredients and so little cooking time can result in dishes with so much depth of flavor. Apart from the creamy curry version I’m looking forward to making all of these again – provided I can get hold of some nice fresh mussels.