This is my favourite way of cooking mussels. It’s not too dissimilar to the classic moules mariniere but I do take the easy route by using frozen half-shell black mussels which I usually get by the kilo-full from Fruit & Veg City. Try not to cook the mussels for more than about eight minutes in total, as mussels can become tough when overcooked. I have used both dry and semi-sweet white wine with equal success in the past. Also, go easy on the salt as the mussels will already have absorbed a fair amount of salt from the sea. I like serving the mussels in deep bowls and with hunks of crusty white bread for mopping up the delicious juices.
Serves 2 as a main course; 4 as a starter
500g frozen half-shell black mussels that have been thawed; 2 tbsp olive oil; 1 tbsp of butter; 2 shallots, finely sliced OR 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped; 1 medium clove of garlic, thinly sliced; small handful of fresh flat-leafed parsley, chopped; 1 smallish bayleaf, half a cup of white wine; a bit of salt to taste; about 2 tsp of flour mixed to a paste (not too thick) with a bit of water, for thickening.
Fry the shallots/ onion and garlic in the oil and butter over medium heat until softened.
Add the mussels, facing up, and the rest of the ingredients, except for the flour mixture which you’ll use to thicken the sauce towards the end. Up the heat and let the mussels cook briskly for about three or four minutes. I usually stick the lid on for this part so they steam nicely. Turn them over, stir in the flour mixture and cook for another three to four minutes max; this time you needn’t cover the mussels. Check the seasoning and add a bit of salt if needed. Serve immediately.