This is perhaps the most widely known Mussel dish. The best way to eat these Mussels is to abandon knives and forks and use the shell from the first Mussel as an implement for scooping the others out of their shells. In Belgium, Mussels prepared this way are commonly served with mayonnaise (either plain or flavoured with garlic) and hot chips.
75g cold butter, diced
4 golden shallots, finely chopped
2 parsley stalks
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
A few white peppercorns
1 cup dry white wine
2.5kg Blue Mussels, debearded and scrubbed
1⁄2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crusty bread, to serve
1. Heat half the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, add shallots, parsley stalks, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns and cook until shallots have softened. Add half the wine, increase heat and, when boiling, add Mussels and cover.
2. Cook, shaking vigorously for 1 minute, then remove any open Mussels and place in a large warm serving bowl. Continue cooking, removing Mussels as they open.
3. When all Mussels have opened, strain cooking liquid through a fine sieve, and return to wiped out pan. Add remaining wine, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer. Whisk in the remaining butter, piece by piece, to thicken. Stir in chopped parsley, taste and add salt and pepper if needed (remember the Mussel liquor is salty).
4. Pour sauce over Mussels and serve with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the sauce, finger bowls and large serviettes.
Alternative Species: Pipi, Surf Clam, Sydney Cockle, Vongole.
Visit the FISHline pages at www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au for more great seafood recipes; advice on seafood purchasing, storage and cooking; species information and answers to frequently asked seafood questions. FISHline is Sydney Fish Market’s free consumer advisory service.