NewsFlash! My husband isn’t the only living thing with a beard that I love. Although he doesn’t use his to attach to rocky shore lines, he has been known to be fairly sedentary during periods of his life – similar to the blue mussel.
Do you know a mussels beard has 5 times the strength of our Achilles heel? I can’t for the life of me remember where I put my car keys on a daily basis but yet my brain accommodates useful nuggets of information such as this.
Bord Bia have challenged me to cook some of their mussel dishes for their new #FlexYourMussels campaign. Irish mussels are easy to prepare, high in protein and iron, offer great value for money and are packed full of flavour. Super shell fish!!!
Best of all mussels are not scary to cook at home. I spent this winter dreaming of the Moules-Frites I had in Île de Ré last summer, following idyllic bike rides with the family …..ok I admit it….the bike rides were mostly horrific as it took us hours to get going, we stopped every 20 seconds for water, wees, suncream applications, to retrieve water bottles, swat flies… you get the idea. But the mussels were fantastic and so my lover affair began. At every opportunity I get when I go out to eat they are always my first choice of starter or main. Throw in some skinny fries to soak up the sauce and I am anybody’s!
However we are lucky enough to not have to go to France to get our hands on these little powerhouses. Don’t we grow enough of them on our Irish shores?! They are super quick to prepare and cook. I had forgotten how inexpensive they are if I am to be honest. And those beards come off in a second when tugged. Unlike husbands….but we won’t go there.
You can find plenty of recipes for mussels on www.bordbia.ie/fish
Quick Cider Braised Mussels with Bacon and Crème Fraîche
Serves 4 – cooking time 20 minutes
- 2kg fresh mussels
- 1 tablesp. olive oil
- 125g bacon lardons or streaky bacon, diced
- 1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 300ml cider
- 4 tablesp. crème fraiche
- 1 tablesp. Dijon-style mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 handful flat leaf parsley chopped
- Place the mussels in a large bowl of cold water. Use a small knife to remove any barnacles and pull away the beard. Discard any mussels that are damaged or won’t close when tapped.
Check out Bord Bia’s ‘How to prepare mussels’ video and delicious recipe inspiration on www.bordbia.ie/fish.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat and add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp. This will take 5-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Set bacon aside.
- Add the shallots and garlic to the saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots soften. Increase the heat and add the sprigs of thyme and cider. Bring to the boil. Add the mussels and cover tightly. Allow the mussels to cook for 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time to ensure they cook evenly. Discard any that have not opened.
- With a slotted spoon remove the mussels from the sauce and divide them between 4 serving bowls.
- Remove the thyme from the sauce and whisk in the crème fraiche and Dijon mustard and simmer. Check for seasoning, remember the cooking liquid and bacon can be salty so be cautious! Pour the finished sauce over the mussels, sprinkle on the bacon and chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread and a sliced tomato and red onion salad.
Enjoy feeling smug, savouring how impressed everyone will be when you produce this super easy and quick dish, full of protein & iron. Serve with a side of chunky bread and utter satisfaction.
Your’s, glad to have found a much more relaxing way to Flex My Mussels,