There has been much in the Foodie news recently about eating 'sustainable' fish. This means cutting down on your cod, haddock, and salmon intake, and instead, finding recipes for mackerel, trout, mussels, and sardines, and many more of the ignored fish in the sea. If you feel guilty about running down fish stocks and feel the need to east something sustainable, then mussels are a great place to start. Mussels are delicious but are also low in calories, low in fat, and high in protein. They also cook very quickly.
The risk of food poisoning often turns people off cooking or eating shellfish. But if you are careful in the preparation and cooking process, the risk is low so do not let it deter you from enjoying a wonderful meal of mussels.
In this recipe, the mussels are cooked in the classic French Provencal sauce. This is a lot lighter and healthier than the creamy sauces often used to cook mussels.
36-40 mussels, debearded
1 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp tomato purée
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 tbsp chopped oregano
5 cherry tomatoes, halved
Begin by cleaning and debearding the mussels. Find any mussels with open shells. Tap the shell, if it closes then keep, if it does not then discard. Once all mussels are clean and checked, set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Sweat the shallots and garlic in the oil for 5-10 minutes, until soft. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, basil, and oregano. Season and cover. Simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the mussels and the cherry tomatoes. Cover, and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Shake the pot once or twice during cooking. Check the mussels and discard any that have not opened their shells. Check the seasoning - add salt and black pepper is necessary.
Using a slotted spoon, place mussels in bowls and pour sauce over the top.
Serve with crusty bread to dip in the sauce.