Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Coming from good stock.

Yes, Portarlington mussels are better than those prepacked ones that are supposed to be asleep. Decision confirmed, after much deliberation, by a jury of two on a cold winter's night, the event accompanied by a rich, buttery chardonnay with - yes - oak maturation. To cut through the garlic, which makes sauvignon blanc taste like ... oh, you know.

Everyone knows the mussels recipe; I must have posted it at least a half dozen times in the almost-six years I have been writing this blog. However, if you just arrived, it goes like this (if not, go to the next paragraph): buy a kilogram of fresh mussels; de-beard them (this is cosmetic only; the wisps won't kill you if you happen to cook them); warm six very finely chopped cloves of garlic in a little oil, a lot of cracked pepper and a cup or more of white wine; cut up six spring onions; place the mussels into the wine and garlic on high heat; cook them five minutes; scatter in the onions and serve immediately in large bowls with crusty bread to dip in the briny sauce. That's enough for two as a generous main course, or four as a side or entree.

This time there was about a cup of fluid left over, full of garlic shards. I was a little heavy-handed on the wine and garlic. Too good to waste (an expression I have been using more and more lately). The following night I heated the fluid through, added a jar of passata, two cans of good tuna in oil and a cup of peas, cooked it for twenty minutes or so and served it over thin, slippery fettucine. Delicious, with a depth of flavour that comes only from good stock.


neil said...

Yeah, cat's pee, I know.

But what I really want to know - who first used that descriptor...and how the hell did they know? I mean, really.

Local mussels are just the best, small, sweet and cooked like that, simply delicious. Food miles, none, just an odd food fathom.

pete said...

huh, I will have to try this

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lesley said...

Couldn't agree more. The "Port" mussels are the best. We always buy a heap of them when we're holidaying just up the road at Indented Head. That name always got me, They used to have a beach girl contest years ago and I was always amused at the girls wanting the title "Miss Indented Head".

kitchen hand said...

Neil, I would like it to have been Auberon Waugh but I suppose it was someone else.

Lesley, there is a hamlet called Sulky in between Ballarat and Creswick; another title to avoid.

neil said...

I think it may have been him...didn't he die in his sleep from it?

kitchen hand said...

No better way to go, Neil.

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