Messy Messy Mussels

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My dad loves seafood, and so do I. Back in Vietnam (my family lives in Hanoi still), we eat seafood every second day. Dad is very good at choosing seafood and he established very good relationship with some fishmongers. Thus, we always have the best fresh ingredient available, which is superb.

Coming to Australia, I eat less seafood. I know its price in Australia is not too bad compared to other parts of the world, but the timing issue is a problem. I like my seafood to be fresh and cooked on the day of purchase. It is not easy since I have to travel quite a bit to get the freshest ingredients. So for me now, seafood dishes are like occasional treats where I can thoroughly enjoy.

Good seafood dish depends largely on the quality of the ingredients. I can´t agree more! Last weekend, the fresh local blue mussels give me total satisfaction although the method of cooking is very simple. Sorry, my quick photo shots did not do this dish the justice. It was really delicious with crème fraîche, spices, white wine and simple herbs. Served with crusty bread, it was heavenly. My flamate and I just couldn´t stop savoring and wished we could have dishes like this every day.

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La Mouclade

Recipe from Rick Stein´s Seafood Odyssey


A good pinch of saffron

1.75 kg mussels, cleaned

120 ml dry white wine

25g butter

1 small onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ tsp good quality medium curry powder

2 tbsp cognac

2 tsp plain flour

200ml crème fraîche

3 tbsp shopped parsley

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper


Put the saffron in a bowl and moisten it with 1 tbsp of warm water. Place the mussels and wine in a large pan, cover and cook over high heat for 2-3 mins, shaking the pan now and then, until the mussels have opened. Tip them into a colander set over a bowl to catch all the cooking liquid and discard any that haven´t opened. Transfer the mussels to a large serving bowl. Keep warm.

Melt butter in a pan, add onion, garlic, curry powder and cook gently without browning for 2-3 mins. Add cognac and cook until almost all evaporated, then stir in the flour and cook for 1 min. Gradually stir in the saffron liquid and all but the last tablespoon or two of the mussel cooking liquid.

Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 mins. Add the cream and simmer for another 3 mins, until slightly reduced. Season to taste, stir in the parsley and then pour the sauce over the mussels. Stir them together gently.

Serve immediately with plenty of crusty bread.

12 Responses to Messy Messy Mussels

  1. sher says:

    I love saffron with seafood. They are perfect together. And those mussels of yours are cooked perfectly. I don’t care how messy I get—I love mussels! YUM!

  2. Lydia says:

    I remember having wonderful fish dishes when we visited Hanoi. Actually the freshness of the fish we ate in many places was astonishing. Sure, we get fresh fish here, but it is harder to find really superb fish in the markets. These mussels look beautiful!

  3. Gattina says:

    Anh, shall we go to the beach to dig mussel some days :D

  4. Asha says:

    Beautiful photo.Saffron in Mussels! You are fancy!;D

  5. sandeepa says:

    Beautiful Pic. I told you are a great Photographer — you know you could teach PHD students that(photography) 😉

  6. burcu says:

    Your pictures are killing me; especially the first one! I love mussels but never dared to cook them myself. you might be my inspiration!

  7. Anh says:

    Sher, I love saffron with seafood, too. :D
    thank you.

  8. Truffle says:

    I love this dish! Great post :)

  9. Anh says:

    Truffle. I normally bought mine in a shop in Springvale shopping center. They have live fish there (barramundi, perch and lobsters). I can’t remember the name of the shop though.

  10. Brilynn says:

    Those sure are some fancy mussels! I usually just steam mine in wine and then top with garlic, butter and hot sauce.

  11. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Mussels are so tender, sweet and tasty. They are so versatile and can be cooked in many ways. I love them. :)

  12. Melting Wok says:

    They are worth the mess, they looked scrumptious:) I bought some mystery purplish patches clams the other day, did a spicy dish and haven’t got the time to post yet, ah..gotta get tt shellfish fix every now and then ya ? :)

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