The day before Christmas Ever – 1979, we stopped at Cape Horn on our way to Antarctic. My boss came out to me in the galley and told me to get dressed – we where going ashore. Going ashore on Cape Horn ??????!!!!
Have seen Cape Horn in a couple of movies before and was expecting this massive evil rock with an angry ocean beating it to death. We had a beautiful sunny day and of we went in the Zodiac with 5 plastic buckets – we where going to pick mussels.
And didn’t we find mussels – millions every where. We never claimed up on the main rock – but all the lower ones where covered in mussels, they where not very big – but still; I have been picking mussels on Cape Horn. They where served as a starter the same evening – it was some scrubbing for me back in the galley. We served them as “Moules Marinières” – my favourite of all variations.
In Belfast we had a Bistro called – Roscoff’s Café & Bistro – owned by Northern Ireland’s TV-chef, Paul Rankin. There I met this version of mussels, … and I went there at least ones a week to have their mussels. Then they changed the layout of the place and also the menu – no more mussels to my big sorrow … now the cafe is gone too. So I had to start doing them myself and here is my recipe. Don’t know if they are exact to Paul’s – but they taste fantastic.
Mussels with coconut milk, chilli and sesame broth, serves 4
2kg (4lb) fresh mussels
2 large red chillies, deseeded and sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, roughly chopped
8 Kaffir lime leaves, torn
4 garlic cloves, chopped 1 bunch of fresh coriander, roughly torn
400ml (14fl oz) coconut milk
4 limes, juice
20ml (4tsp) sesame oil
Scrub the mussels in cold water and pull of the scraggly “beard” that may still be attached to the shell. Shake dry and place the mussels in a large saucepan with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 4-5 min. shaking the pan occasionally – until all mussels has opened, discard any that remain close.
Divide the mussels between warm serving bowls and stain over the juice. I always serve with fries like in Belgium and a nicely chilled sauvignon blanc to go with it – in this case I would go for a French. Or like in Bruges a cold Leffe!!!
Mussels should only be eaten in months with an “R” !!!! Just like in March *smile
“So have you heard about the oyster who
went to a disco and pulled a mussel”
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