A classic French recipe that makes the most of delicious, sustianable Cornish farmed mussels.
Serves five as a starter.
1. Wash the mussels under plenty of cold, running water. Discard any open ones that won’t close when lightly squeezed.
2. Pull out the tough, fibrous beards protruding from between the tightly closed shells and then knock off any barnacles with a large knife. Give the mussels another quick rinse to remove any surplus shell.
3. Slice the shallots and puree the garlic with a little salt.
4. Gently sweat the sliced shallots, garlic puree, thyme and bay leaf with olive oil until the shallots are translucent and have no colour.
5. Add the white wine and reduce by 7/8ths. You should only have a small amount of liquid remaining – set this aside.
6. Chop the leeks, onions and celery into small, even pieces.
7. Gently sweat the chopped vegetables crushed garlic and star anise with olive oil until the vegetables are translucent and have no colour.
8. Add the white wine and reduce by 7/8th. You should only have a small amount of liquid remaining.
9. Cool the vegetable mixture down over a bowl of ice.
10. Vac-pack the vegetables, cockles/mussels and fish stock together in a double bag.
11. Place the vac -packed mussels into a water bath (or saucepan) set at 85 degrees and cook for 75 minutes.
12. Pass through a muslin cloth and chill in a bowl over ice.
13. Take a large deep sauce pan and add the mussel infusion, shallot reduction and double cream and bring it up to simmer.
14. Add the mussels, cover with a lid and continue to simmer until all the mussels are just open – this should take around 3 minutes. Take care not to overcook the mussels as they will become tough to eat.
15. Add the chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper if required.
16. Place the steaming hot mussels into serving dishes and serve with crusty white bread or french fries.