Saturday, 26 January 2013

rachel allen's spanish mussels

What better antidote to an extended Date Night, thanks to drinking with the babysitter (cheers Lucyfer), than a lovely family day in the sun? Okay, so it's brassic, but it's bright and sunny, so we take ourselves off to Barnes Market for some fantastically cheap veg - today's haul included cavalo nero, onions, cauliflower, salad, two massive bunches of herbs, broccoli, carrots and beetroot for a bargain fiver - two coffees, a bacon bap for Milo and half a kilo of mussels.

The great thing about mussels, and very much like squid, are that they fall into the camp of 'Things Ana really doesn't like eating but has to eat in front of Milo'. After all, you can't tell your son to try new things and eat everything up if you're pulling faces and edging parts of your dinner to the side of your plate.

Ana's still scarred from our trip to the Mussel Boys restaurant in Havelock ooooh 16 years ago, where we were presented with 2KG of molluscs the size of my palm. We managed to chew our way through some of them, but that finished our mussel love for a looooonng time, until quite recently.

Anyway, inspired by our Breton holiday with the McPs a couple of years ago where Harald mangez-d his way through a tonne of them, me and Milo have been eating them for a while now. He even likes the whole de-bearding thing, so it's a great daddy-son cooking thing. Until tonight as we suffer a repeat of the massive Mussel Boys Mussel marathon:

You'd think the combination of chorizo and having cleaned the things - both of which he likes - this would be a winner, but the mussels are just too big and chewy. Okay, not NZ green lip big, but big enough. Ana looks secretly pleased as the uneaten pile shifts from her plate to his, to mine.

I never thought I'd say this, but it's small supermarket shellfish for us from now on. Sorry fishermen.

wine time
So as we know, mussels are quite meaty, and this sauce is rich and spicy, what with all the paprika in the chorizo, so something crisp and tangy would be amazeballs. Sans chorizo I'd suggest a zippy Muscadet, but as this is Iberican I don't think you'd go wrong with any of a dry Rosado, an Albarino (if you're feeling poncy and want to confuse the staff in Sainsburys) or a super-chilled and salty Fino sherry. Mmmm, sherry...

spanish mussels - Rachel Allen, Easy Meals (in Delicious January 2012, p24)

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