Missing New Zealand’s greenshell mussels…
New Zealand’s green shell mussels are pretty wonderful – delicious and super versatile, cheap, good for your tastebuds and the rest of you too. Do they have them in Sydney? Because that’s where I’m going in less than three weeks, for keeps!*
I’m sure Sydney will have plenty to keep me interested as a foodie, but nevertheless, tonight we had a bit of a tribute to New Zealand’s famously delicious green shell mussels, just boiled and topped with sauteed mushrooms, sweet red onions and salty olives. I wasn’t expecting it to be as delicious as it was, which is actually a bit reflective of how I feel about New Zealand at the moment. Like many kiwis I’ve done my fair share of moaning about being so far away from everything (“Why is that film still not out yet?!” “Why does this restaurant not have a website, is it from the 20th Century or something?!”), but then again, it’s close to friends and family and charming locals who remember you when you go for your weekly pain au chocolat. I will very much have trouble tearing myself away from this little, but truly wonderful, corner of the world I’ve called home.
Also, it’s a shame I won’t be posting many more mussel recipes, because they fit the ethos of the blog quite well (cheap, yummy, simple, healthy). Most often I just mix some melted butter, soy sauce and finely chopped garlic to drizzle over them, but I’ve also tried adding lemon slices and fennel to the cooking liquid. Will has developed a real lust for white wine mussel pies from Ocean Divine, and they are indeed amazing in a creamy white wine sauce.
The variations on this “recipe” are also plentiful – use feta in place of olives, add halved cherry tomatoes, or use charred chunks of eggplant in place of the mushrooms. You can chop things finer and add some tomato goop, chuck some cheese on and throw under the grill as well if you’re feeling extra decadent. You could even make this raw – chop up the onions and marinate with chopped mushrooms and olives in lemon juice, maybe a little extra virgin olive oil…Ok, so I might have a few more mussel nights actually! What are your favourite ways to eat mussels?
Mussels topped with yummy things
A guide for making as much or as little as you like.
Clean the mussels (only thing I won’t miss about mussels). Bring a pot of water (about 1/4 full will do) to a rapid boil, and chuck your mussels in (sorry mussels!). Cover and reduce heat to low, letting simmer for about five minutes until the mussels open up. Once cooked, remove mussels to a bowl and cover so they don’t dry out. Keep the cooking liquid (freeze if you must) for either a seafood stock or soup. Very yummy with spring onions.
Meanwhile, chop a red onion finely,* some mushrooms (I used boring white button mushrooms) into small bite size pieces, and some of your favourite marinated olives (preferably freshly pitted, but I don’t blame you if you can’t be bothered…just don’t get those awful plastic-y black things that come pre sliced too). Drizzle a frypan with olive oil and fry the onions and mushrooms on a high heat on a single layer until the mushrooms and onions brown. Turn off heat, stir through olives, and use this mixture to top your mussels. You could even make a bit of a bruschetta out of this, which would be lovely.
Don’t add any salt to the cooking water or topping, as both are already pretty salty on their own!
*If you’ve got regular onions on hand add a hearty pinch or two of sugar, these need a little sweetness I think.
*In case you’re wondering, yes of course I’ll keep food blogging. I did mention I was going to Sydney right?! I’ve got my first full time job, so will no longer be confined to a student budget, but will still keep things nice and accessible most of the time. I actually find that cooking with a few restrictions is far more exciting anyway :)