Something simple to make for dinner tonight on this first day of Autumn, transform a kilo of mussels into a rich, creamy, spicy Mouclade with Lemon and Crème Fraîche!
Mussels Mouclade reminds me of holidays passed with my family on the west coast of France. My children loved mussels from a very young age. (personally I think the draw was dipping the frites in the saffron spiced liquor). This is a quick, easy and very tasty recipe, apart from the tedious task of cleaning the mussels, a job I often delegate to my partner, naughty I know but he often asked to help!
I like to make my own curry spice blend, the flavours are fresher and brighter than shop bought. You can do this in a high speed blender such as a nutribullet or the old fashion way, in a pestle and mortar.
Did you know that mussels are green rated on The Good Fish Guide. Apparently 70% of us don’t know how to prepare and cook them! Let me tell you, they are easy. Obviously mussels are live, so buy them from a trusted good fishmonger or supermarket. The rest is really straight forward.
I’ve served the mussels with bread but oven baked fries would be just perfect too. Oh and if you love fish and like saffron then you might like to try this Swedish Fish Soup with Rouille next Friday!
Curry Spice Blend
- 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cayenne powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- a pinch of saffron
- 1 kg mussels
- 1 banana shallot finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp curry spice blend
- 2 tbsps brandy
- 1-11½ tsp cornflour
- 200 ml dry white wine
- 175 g creme fraiche
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 bunch parsley finely chopped
- 1 Fresh chilli optional, cut in half length ways, remove the seeds
- 2 wedges lemon
- Crush the coriander and cumin seeds in a pestle & mortar or high speed mini blender. Combine the rest of the spices and set aside. (you'll have enough for several more dishes).
- Place the saffron in a small cup, crush with the top of a wooden spoon then add 1 tablespoon of warm water. Leave to steep for 10 minutes. Clean the mussels and remove the barnacles and beards. Tap the mussels, discard any that remain open and don’t close. On a medium heat, add the oil and sweat the shallot until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and curry spice blend, cook for 1-2 minutes to release the flavour or the spices. Add the brandy and simmer until it has reduced and become a paste. Add the saffron water and stir and heat on low for a minute or 2. Set aside.
- Heat a separate large saucepan, add the wine, mussels and chilli if using, cover with the lid. Cook the mussels over high heat for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally until the mussels have opened. Strain the mussels over a bowl and reserve the liquor. Discard any mussels that didn’t open and put the remainder back in the saucepan and cover to keep warm. Strain the mussel liquor through a fine sieve to remove any sand. Reheat the onion and saffron over medium heat. Add the mussel liquor and stir to combine.
- Mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Bring the liquor to a simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add the creme fraîche and cornflour, whisk together with a balloon whisk, then simmer for 5 mins or until the sauce has thickened a little. (if you prefer not to thicken the liquor with cornflour, just leave it out and reduce the liquor a little more). Check the seasoning ,add salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the parsley.
- Place the mussels in 2 bowls, pour over the liquor, add lemon wedges and serve immediately with bread or fries.