Friday, 2 February 2018

Welsh mussels and Scottish whisky

In honour of Wales' first 6 Nations '18 match against Scotland this weekend I have paired sweet, juicy and salty mussels from the south coast of Wales with one of the most famous if not the most famous Scottish product, Single Malt Scotch Whisky. This particular whisky hails from the Isle of Skye and is light enough not to over power the shellfish. I would certainly look for this quality when deciding upon the whisky to use. The mussels were landed in Burry Port which is 50 miles west of Cardiff. Mussels are one of the most sustainable types of seafood and we should all be embracing this beautiful product. Not only is it good for the environment (it cleans the water around them as they grow) they taste bloody delicious too.
This dish paired with leek (obvs) and cream is rich and truly moreish. The smoky warmth of whisky coming though makes this a cracking alternative to the classic moules mariniere in this cooler climate. Enjoy!

Ingredients: enough for 2 people
  • 1 kg mussels 
  • 1 leek halved and sliced
  • 1 celery stick sliced
  • knob of butter
  • glug of Olive oil
  • 50ml Scottish whisky (I used Talisker Strom)
  • 100ml double cream
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • fine sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 small loaf of sourdough bread to severe (I use Pettigrew Bakery)
  1. Wash and clean the mussels of any debris and beards present (this is the stingy bit that sticks out of the shell) and get rid of any opened ones. YouTube a video on preparing mussels if you are in any doubt.
  2. Put a wide and deep pan/pot on a medium heat and add the olive oil and knob of butter. Saute the leeks and celery until soft.
  3. Turn up the heat and add the whisky, allow the alcohol to cook off. It should bubble rapidly for about a 1-2 mins but be sure not all the liquid evaporates away!
  4. Turn down the heat slightly and add the double cream and mussels. Coat the mussels in the whisky and cream mixture then cover.
  5. Simmer for 3-4 mins or until all the shells have opened, revealing the meat in side! Discard any unopened ones. Mix through the chopped parsley. 
  6. Transfer the mussels to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
  7. Reduce the liquid remaining in the pan and season with salt and pepper. Once thickened pour over the mussels in the bowl. It will smell amazing!
  8. Scatter any remaining chopped parsley on top.
  9. Serve with plenty of sourdough bread and get stuck in!

Please have a go at this dish and if you do let me know how you got on! Cheers and enjoy the 6 Nations! Come on Wales!