With the sun shining, the nation has been seeking light summer dishes and nothing says seaside summer dining like a hefty pot of mussels with a side of fries and plenty of chunky bread to soak up those sumptuous sauces.
Bringing the fragrant seaside aroma to your kitchen, leading cook and author Anna Barnett’s recipe for mussels in a green broth is prepared in a STAUB cast iron cocotte and served with homemade fries and a delicious garlic-infused herb drizzle.
1kg fresh mussels – cleaned and debearded
A good glug of olive oil
1 large banana shallot – diced
½ bulb of fennel – diced
2 cloves of garlic – peeled and crushed
2 fresh bay leaves
Generous sprinkle of white pepper
350ml white wine
Handful of wild garlic or 2 large cloves of garlic
Small bunch of parsley
Small bunch of dill
Sprinkle of sea salt flakes
Glug of olive oil / rapeseed oil
3 medium to large potatoes – skin left on, sliced into thin chips
Generous glug of oil
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
Sprinkle of sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1. Begin by cleaning your mussels, ensuring all shells are clean and crack free. Place in a large bowl of cold water until ready to use, ensure you only use the mussels with closed shells.
2. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Slice your potatoes into thin, even strips, leaving the skin on. Transfer to a large oven tray and drizzle with oil, use your hands to ensure all potatoes are evenly coated. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and pepper and roast for around 20 to 25 minutes. When they’re almost done throw in your sprigs of thyme and give your tray a shake. The keys to cooking these quickly are to just arrange a single layer of potatoes across the tray and not to interfere too much with them whilst they cook.
3. For the mussels, heat a generous glug of oil in a large STAUB cocotte, once hot add in the chopped shallots, fennel, garlic and bay leaves, allow to cook over a medium heat until soft and translucent- around 5 to 6 minutes. Next add in your white wine and increase the heat until boiling (to cook off the alcohol) add in your mussels, shake and cover with a lid. Cook your mussels for 3 to 4 minutes until the shells have opened. I like to give the pan a shake every minute or so to coat all the mussels in that simple delicious liquor.
4. While the mussels cook, muddle or blitz (I prefer to muddle for that extra hit of flavour) your herb drizzle ingredients, season, have a taste and drizzle over your mussels for a extra hit of flavour when serving. Always leave that last bit of cooking liquor in the pan as this can collect a little grit from the mussels. Serve immediately alongside those freshly cooked, golden crunchy chips.