Good food doesn't have to be difficult…
Mussels are probably the ultimate fast food whether you have them as Moules Mariniere or even Moules Frites, these black capsules of loveliness are honestly the easiest fast food going! Forget 15 minute meals… this is more like 5 and that includes finding a saucepan!
Mussels are in season from around September to April depending on weather (as with most things in The UK). A good rule of thumb is that mussels are available with months containing and ‘R’ but as I said this is dependent on the warmth of both late autumn and early spring.
That being said you can get rope grown mussels throughout the year. These however, don’t seem to taste as nice (in my opinion anyway) there’s something to be said for eating food in season, like the first new potatoes or the incredibly short window for Asparagus. Most rope grown mussels hail from Scotland, the mussels I used are some of the first of this year’s season from the small village of Brancaster Staithe on the North Norfolk coast.
There is a downside with not using the rope grown variety of mussels and that is that you have to clean them… this really doesn’t take long at all. In a bowl of clean, cold water, knock off any barnacles, pull the beards from the mussels and put your cleaned bivalves into your pan.
Once you’ve sorted all of your mussels, cover the pan with a lid and cook on a high heat for around 5 minutes. As the shells open they will release moisture into the pan creating steam which will cook the shellfish. Once the pan foams up and all the shells are open your mussels are done and ready to eat. Drain them and serve in bowls.
If like me you want something to go with your mighty molluscs make a cheats garlic bread. Get yourself a bread roll and make some diagonal cuts about ¾ of the way through it. In a small bowl crush the garlic and mix together with the butter. Spread the butter into the cracks and bake in a high oven until the butter has melted and the roll is nice and crispy.