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Thread: Mussle Soup to die for

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    Mussle Soup to die for

    All my recipes have been worked out by me for cooking on a yacht. Nothing I do is very difficult.

    We've finally cracked it. A bit of luck, a few good meals out and some desk research and .... BINGO! It is so easy, it's a joke. You'd never pay a restaurant to do it again, it is so easy to do on board IF you have a big pot.

    If you don't have a big pot, get one...you will find lots of uses for it from deep-frying, proving dough, making minestrone or vegetable soup in season, or even dyeing the odd bit of clothing that is sound but has lost its colour. Don't leave the blue dye in the pot unless you want a Bridget Jones review

    Key factors for success:-

    Good fresh mussels
    Bit pot -- you really do need a nice big pot for this, and they are very useful on board. A pressure cooker type might be too small
    Fresh herbs

    NO SALT -- PLEASE -- LET PEOPLE ADD IF THEY WANT THIS WILL BE MORE THAN SALTY ENOUGH FOR 98% OF PEOPLE WITH NO ADDED SALT

    Ingredients, for two:-

    0.75 kg mussels for a good starter or 1.5 kg mussels for a main, for hungry people
    1 to 2 teacups of dry white wine
    1 fresh lemon
    1 dessert spoon rough-chopped fresh basil
    2 dessert spoons rough-chopped fresh parsley
    1 dessert spoon fresh chives chopped along stem into 1mm sections
    A very little garlic, to your taste -- the world's best mussel soups have just enough garlic that the flavour is enhanced, but not enough to say with certainty that there is garlic in there....you want the diner to say "Ah! The sea!" Not "Ah, a bulb of garlic from a field in Provence".
    ground black pepper
    Bread, either toasted and served on the side, or fried -- you can play around with the bread, garlic, tomatoes, etc. but DO NOT ADD SALT AS THE MUSSELS WILL BE SALTY. Let people add their own salt if they want

    VARIATION -- you can throw some clams in after the mussels have opened if you like, they are smaller and take less cooking.

    Method:-

    Clean up the mussels in the usual way and put aside in a colander, in the coldest part of the fridge if you are going to take your time about it. You will kill the mussels if they are in contact with the evaporator plates. +2C to +5C is a good temperature, up to +15C for a short while.

    Cut the lemon in half and slice a bit of zest off one side, chop with a knife, gently squeeze the juice of half the lemon into the big pot, with your hand (don't use a squeezer) and add the zest you've just chopped

    Put all of the other ingredients in the big pot and add 250 ml of water or the amount you'd like to serve as the soup...common sense, really but the mussels are really steamed, not boiled so only make as much juice as you'd like to drink!

    Bring to the simmer for the alcohol to boil away and for the flavours to combine -- the herbs should start to look a bit cooked. Taste it...should not be salty just a little bit herby. Do NOT adjust the seasoning at this stage as the mussels will change it beyond recognition.

    Put the mussels in and bring back to a modest simmer WITH A LID ON. You are steaming the mussels.

    Cook for 10 to 15 mins until the mussels are all open and look nice. If you cook any longer they will be rubbery.

    Keep a watch on this when cooking.....like most foods, this dish does not respond well to going to watch the telly. Using a slotted spoon, turn the mussels in the liquor every five minutes, but try not to let all the mussels fall out of their shells when you do it.

    Taste the soup when all the shells are open. If you really need salt after tasting, add a bit, but not too much

    Serve the mussels into nice big soup bowls and then pour the liquor over them. A sprig of fresh uncooked parsley looks attractive and you can very rough-chop some fresh parsley and sprinkle that over. Mainly for the appearance. As a variation, if you have a tomato handy, chop the tomato removing the core bits...you want bits the size of very small peas, and throw those in with the herbs at the beginning. Adds a touch of flavour and a nice colour. Don't use tinned tomatoes or tomato puree...this dish is about FRESH flavours and keep it simple.

    To eat, find a nice big mussel, use half the shell and use that as your spoon (saves the washing up and works better than any spoon). The bread or toast can be served on the side, maybe with olive oil. If you fried it, you could make some into croutons and pop them on top of each bowl after serving.

    I'd really appreciate feedback -- good and bad -- and any ideas and suggestions.

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    0iD (27-04-2009),merdat (30-04-2009),TheAnimus (27-04-2009)

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    The late but legendary peterb - Onward and Upward peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    Welcome to Hexus - an interesting first post! Maybe we should start a cooking channel!
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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Welcome to Hexus - an interesting first post! Maybe we should start a cooking channel!
    Thanks, Peter. I thought this WAS the cooking channel Living on a boat, most of my Internet access is WiFi, 3G or GPRS so folding isn't really for me.

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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    Seraphina, welcome to Hexus.

    If your posts continue in this manner, you may well become one of the most popular members here

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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    Absolutely, this IS the Hexus cooking channel & it has been a bit light on quality recipe's of late.

    So thanks for joining & thanks for sharing
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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    this post made me hungry

    shame the wife hates them, i might have to cook some for the old man to share with me

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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    Going to have to give this a try later on in the week me thinks!
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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
    All my recipes have been worked out by me for cooking on a yacht.
    Great opening line.

    I'm intrigued though sir; if I were cooking this meal and happened to find myself in the unusual situation of not being on a yacht, how would the preparation differ?

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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    one of the flavours I miss from family holidays to the normandy coast is fresh muscles cooked in a very similar fashion
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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    This recipe is nearly identical to the one my old boss taught to me, although there was no water put in the pot, just wine

    The tomatoes are a nice touch though, I'll have to try that sometime.
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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    Quote Originally Posted by format View Post
    This recipe is nearly identical to the one my old boss taught to me, although there was no water put in the pot, just wine

    The tomatoes are a nice touch though, I'll have to try that sometime.
    It doesn't surprise me...mussel soup is such an old favorite but I spent ages getting a recipe that actually worked and that required quite a few meals out in Rome. That really was a pain. Most of the recipes we found online had been 'mucked about with' and, honestly, lost the plot. Most seem to start with 'take an onion and three cloves of garlic'. That is NOT the way to make mussel soup. I suppose that all wine would be fine but for anyone starting out I would suggest water/wine and then increase the wine to taste, as you gain experience It's not too much of a trial to experiment, eh? Nice and inexpensive as well

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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    Quote Originally Posted by Tzarbo View Post
    Great opening line.

    I'm intrigued though sir; if I were cooking this meal and happened to find myself in the unusual situation of not being on a yacht, how would the preparation differ?
    You'd have to travel further to get decent mussels!

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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    unless you live at hunstanton

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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    Quote Originally Posted by format View Post
    The tomatoes are a nice touch though, I'll have to try that sometime.
    I made it with tomato this evening -- a very small under-ripe green/light-red Italian 'beef' tomato, about the size of British salad tomato with 1.5kg mussels. It brought the lemon zest out really effectively -- the zest adds greatly to this dish; it is a joy to get a bit of zest with a mussel, wakes up the dish. I couldn't get fresh basil from the market today (in Italy?!!) so had to use dried but worked fine though I doubled the fresh parsley to compensate to keep the greenery intact. On balance, better with tomato but not too much and def. not puree or tinned. Our mussel soup is now better than 95% of the best of the restaurant efforts....just follow the recipe.

    This evening we just served toasted white bread, with olive oil on the plate to dip into. Not very exciting, but OK as the mussel soup was quite superb. Next time I'll do the toast Spanish style; get a bigger tomato, half for the soup and half for the toast. Rub the tom. over the toast, lightly sprinkle with ground sea salt, and drizzle olive oil. Works well with fresh garlic, for garlic lovers.

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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
    This evening we just served toasted white bread, with olive oil on the plate to dip into. Not very exciting, but OK as the mussel soup was quite superb. Next time I'll do the toast Spanish style; get a bigger tomato, half for the soup and half for the toast. Rub the tom. over the toast, lightly sprinkle with ground sea salt, and drizzle olive oil. Works well with fresh garlic, for garlic lovers.
    I really got into the Spanish bread with oil and salt last year when I was in Ibiza. I'll have to try the garlic and tomato though

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    Re: Mussle Soup to die for

    ahh nuts, i forgot to buy any when at the fishmongers in kings lynn today

    still, have some cracking whelks and a cromer crab to munch

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