eat in my kitchen

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Tag: mussels

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric Roots

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric

I’m still in my post Christmas meat-reduced phase, I just don’t feel inspired to throw a heavy roast in the oven, or put a steak in the pan. Although the annual feasting is already a month ago, my appetite calls for vegetables and seafood, light on the body and preferably refined with lots of citrus fruits, herbs, spices or whatever comes into my mind.

Out of all the wonderful culinary gifts we get from the sea, mussels are one of the easiest to prepare and luckily, they’re still in season. I like to be brave when it comes to seasoning their cooking juices, I want each single flavour to be present to infuse their meat, this is not the time to be shy! Today’s recipe follows this rule and makes the most aromatic broth, it’s perfect to dip little pieces of crunchy baguette in. This is almost the best part of this meal and every time we have mussels on the table, it fills me with excitement. So, I chose a combination of sweet blood orange, fennel, fresh ginger and turmeric which literally melts in your mouth, it’s a colourful explosion of fresh flavours. Look at the bright yellow, the vibrant orange and refreshing green, translate that into taste and you’ll have an idea of what happened at our lunch table!

For the cooking broth, I mixed the citrus fruit’s juice with some white wine and grated a little zest which created a wonderful aroma. Roots were my next addition, strips and slices of warming ginger and luckily, I can get fresh turmeric at the moment. The deep orange root is a fragrant concentrate, it’s so unique you can’t compare it to anything else, not even the powder. When I peel the thin skin off it turns my fingers into a golden yellow, it had the same effect on the broth and looked stunning. I couldn’t help it, this buoyant dish just put a smile on my face!

Some more mussel inspiration:

Saffron Bouchot Mussels with Tomatoes, Garlic and Parsley

Spiced Mussels with Ginger, Lemongrass and Coriander

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric

 

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric

For 2-3 people you need

fresh mussels 1 kg / 2 pounds
white wine 200ml / 1/2 pint
freshly squeezed blood orange juice 50ml / 1 3/4 ounces
blood orange zest 1 tablespoon
small fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced, 1 plus the fresh green, chopped, for the topping
fresh ginger, cut into small strips, a thumb sized piece
fresh turmeric, sliced, 1 thumbnail sized piece
bay leaf 1
salt 1/2 teaspoon

Rinse and scrub the mussels under cold water and cut off the beard, discard any broken mussels.

In a large pot, bring the wine and juice with the zest, fennel, ginger, turmeric, bay leaf and salt to the boil. Add the mussels to the hot broth, close with a lid and cook on lowest heat for 5 minutes or until the shells open (shake the pot once or twice while cooking or gently mix with a slotted ladle). Discard any mussels that don’t open! Sprinkle the mussels with the fresh fennel green and serve immediately, preferably with baguette and a glass of chilled white wine.

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric

 

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric

 

Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric

Saffron Bouchot Mussels with Tomatoes, Garlic and Parsley

Saffron Mussels

When I have mussels on my cooker I like to add spices, herbs and chopped vegetables, lots of flavours to enrich the broth they’re cooking in. I love to dip a piece of fresh baguette into the concentrated juice of wine cooked with mussels, garlic and parsley as much as I like the tender flesh.

The last time I wrote about a recipe with mussels, it was an aromatic bomb inspired by my friend Essa’s kitchen. The list of spices was long with turmeric, coriander, fresh and  seeds, cayenne pepper, ginger and lemongrass. Not too long after I shared this recipe, Marilena from the Molise region in Italy got in touch with me as she holds a completely different position when it comes to cooking mussels and seafood in general. Pure without too many distractions, that’s how it should be cooked in her opinion. I understand her point, and agree partly. I prefer prawn and lobster dishes that focus mainly on the seafood. When it comes to grilled steak fish, I feel the same. That’s also one of the reasons why my fish recipes in Malta were quite minimal. Although mussels have a very fine taste of the sea, almost sweet, I find they work very well in combination with exotic aromas. We all have our cooking preferences, our likes and dislikes which makes the product of each kitchen so unique! When it comes to baking, Marilena and I found common ground again. She asked me to bake her Milk Pan di Campobasso, a traditional dolci of the region where she lives. This cake is packed with saffron and Strega (an old Italian saffron liqueur) infused milk and covered with hazelnut icing. I had never heard of this combination before but since then I’m in love with saffron combined with nuts!

Today’s recipe for my mussels also works with the strong aroma of this precious, red spice. I felt like a strong broth with a dominant note of saffron mixed with tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley, onions and garlic. The dish looked and tasted like autumn! Warm flavours and colours, red, yellow and green on the shimmering Moules de Bouchot from the Mont-Saint-Michel bay between Brittany and Normandy. The mussels grow on ropes in the sea and that’s the taste they bring to the plate, the fresh sea!

Saffron Mussels

 

Saffron Mussels

 Saffron Bouchot Mussels with Tomatoes, Garlic and Parsley

For a lunch for 3-4 people served with baguette you need

mussels in shells (preferably Bouchot mussels) 1 kg / 2 pounds
medium sized tomatoes, finely chopped, 3
medium sized onion, finely chopped, 1
garlic, thinly sliced, 3 cloves
white wine 200ml / 7 ounces
bay leaf 1
saffron a pinch
salt 1/2 teaspoon
pepper
olive oil
fresh parsley, roughly chopped, 4 tablespoons plus a few leaves

Rinse and scrub the mussels under cold water and cut off the beard, discard any broken mussels.

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil and cook the onion and garlic on a medium heat for a few minutes until soft and golden. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, wine, saffron, salt, pepper and the mussels. Shake the pot gently to mix or stir with a slotted ladle. Bring to the boil, close with a lid and cook on lowest heat for 5 minutes or until the shells open (shake the pot once or twice while cooking). Discard any mussels that didn’t open! Sprinkle the mussels with parsley and serve immediately, in deep plates with a bit of broth and baguette.

Saffron Mussels

 

Saffron Mussels

Mussels with Spices, Ginger, Lemongrass and Coriander

Mussels with Ginger, Lemon Grass + Coriander

Last summer I enjoyed a sumptuous dinner in a beautiful candle lit garden at an old villa surrounded by fragrant Stephanotis and Plumbago. The setting was just perfect and the food divine as always, cooked by my dear friend Vanessa. She treated us to the freshest seafood, prepared in inspiring variations. We started the dinner with mussels cooked with coriander, turmeric, cayenne and ginger in a wonderful broth made with coconut milk and lemon. I was never too fond of mussels until that night. I used to cook them with celery, carrots and onions in white wine which is nice but the exotic mixture of spices and herbs was something special and unexpected.

When I bought the mussels for our dinner I knew I would take Vanessa’s version and mix it with mine. I used white wine instead of coconut milk but adopted her mix of coriander, turmeric, cayenne and ginger. To this I added some lemongrass, garlic, spring onions and carrots. The velvety broth was a fantastic match for the mussels, very bold while not overpowering the fresh sea taste of the mussels. We finished all the mussels and soaked up every drop of the remaining broth with some Ciabatta bread.

Mussels with Ginger, Lemon Grass + Coriander

Mussels with Spices, Ginger, Lemongrass and Coriander

For 2 hungry people you need

mussels, rinsed, 1 kg / 2 pounds
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
spring onions, cut into slices, 2
carrot, cut into cubes, 1
ginger, grated, thumbnail size
lemongrass, cut into thin slices, a 7cm / 3″ piece
coriander seeds, ground, 1 teaspoon
turmeric, ground, 1/3 teaspoon
cayenne pepper, ground, 1/8 teaspoon
salt 1/2 teaspoon
white wine 250ml
lemon juice 1 tablespoon
oil for frying 2 tablespoons
fresh coriander, chopped, a handful

Heat the oil in a large pot and fry the ginger, lemongrass, garlic and vegetables for a couple minutes. Add the ground spices, mix and fry for another minute. Pour the wine and lemon juice into the pot and bring to the boil, season with salt. Add the mussels and mix with the liquid. Close with a lid and turn down the heat to the lowest temperature. Steam for 5 minutes or until the shells open. Take out the mussels which didn’t open, you should not eat them! Mix in the coriander leaves and serve on big plates.

Mussels with Ginger, Lemon Grass + Coriander