Mussels from Brussels

Many years ago we went for a Christmas work dinner at Belgo’s, a Belgian restaurant in Covent Garden or somewhere like that. We had mussels with fries and Belgian beer. Very nice too. So, some 15 years later I thought I would try and replicate that dish in the kitchen of HappinessStan.

To create a taste of the Low Countries you will need:

  • A big bag of mussels (these were from Scotland – which is 8 hrs away by lorry so lets hope they are fresh)
  • White wine
  • Butter
  • Parsley
  • Double (Heavy) cream
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Salt and Pepper

First thing is to prepare the mussels. Never done this before and it took 40 minutes. Yes 40 minutes. You have to pull off their beards (these things are still alive but they don’t bite) and then scrub off the barnacles. I threw anything away that looked cracked or open.

Then you fry up some onion and garlic in butter in a massive pan.

Then add the wine, parsley and mussels and cook for a few minutes.

Now decant the mussels into another pan and boil the liquid down and add some cream to thicken it up. Season.

Pour the sauce over the mussels.

Now serve this mother-lode up with fries and a nice Belgian beer.

It would have taken about 1o minutes to put this creation together were it not for the buggering about cleaning the mussels.

14 thoughts on “Mussels from Brussels

  1. I grew up yanking mussels for meals off coastal rocks at low tide; in New England; so, I’m extra picky about critters that arrive by aircraft here in the southern Rockies.

    I can usually count on critters from PEI – but, push-comes-to-shove, I rely on the good taste and standards of the mad crew who run the seafood department in our local Whole Foods.

    I love mussels. Like every other foodstuff on Earth, be certain you use sufficient garlic.

    • Yes garlic is essential. It’s always worth thinking about where these sea creatures came from – I’m many many miles from a beach (although nothing compared to the Rockies…)

  2. I know what you mean about cleaning the mussels! Everyone always talks about what a “fast” dish this is, and how you can pull it together in minutes after work. But whenever I hear that, I wonder what army of prep cooks lives with them!

  3. I love “Moules/frites”!
    You can make some really nice with roquefort and cream or cream and curry powder!
    I will cook some when you will come!

  4. If you leave out the cream, you can add some chilli to make them interesting. This post brings me back to a magic night in the Loire Valley with the family. We had mussels, chips and Muscadet sitting on long benches surrounded by excited French people enjoying a village celebration. My then very young kids took to the shellfish straightaway. There was no need to even suggest that they ‘try one’.
    Happy Days,
    Conor

    • That’s the second question mark on the cream. Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. Cream is not the answer to everything is it. As for kids – I reckon the Adventurous eater (11) would try mussels but the Fussy eater (8) would running screaming from the room…

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