Mussels in white wine

This meal could be cooked in a galley on a boat, and could also be cooked on a gas ring on a beach while looking at boats, or in a kitchen to evoke a beachy, boat-y atmosphere. Mussels, rich in vitamin E and zinc, have long been considered an aphrodisiac, especially by the Ancient Greeks who by all accounts knew what they were talking about.

I’ve dialed down the garlic, for obvious reasons, and the gorgeous winey aromas and the beautiful black mussels make this the most romantic alfresco picnic imaginable. This recipe originally appeared here with some thoughts on how not to use a yacht to seduce women.

Mussels in White Wine (serves 2)

A glass of white wine

1 pound of mussels (scrubbed)
1 small onion
1 cloves of garlic
1 ½ cups of wine
2 tbsp cream
½ tbsp olive oil

  • Dice the onion finely
  • Put a pot with a lid on the heat
  • Fry the onion in the olive oil for about five minutes until soft and golden
  • Grate or finely chop the garlic and add to the pan for about a minute – you really don’t want the garlic to burn or it makes the whole dish taste bitter
  • Pour in the wine and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan
  • Tip in the mussels and clamp the lid on
  • Steam on a medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally for 6 – 8 minutes
  • Pour in the cream, stir to heat through, then serve the mussels in bowls, with bread to mop up the sauce.

A note on mussels

Mussel illustration for easy recipe

Raw: open = bad, closed = good.

Cooked: open = good, closed = bad

If you buy mussels in from a fishmonger or in a supermarket, they ought to come cleaned with the beards removed and they should all be tightly shut. If there are any open ones, give them a tap on the counter. If they immediately shut, that’s fine, but if they stay open, the mussel inside is dead, and should be thrown away as, most likely, it will make you sick.

If you get mussels that still have the beards attached, (they’re the obvious stringy tangles on the shells) simply tug them off and give the shells a good scrub.

If you’ve bought mussels on the pier from some guy selling them out of a bucket , it’s a good idea to rinse them by dunking them in a bowl of cold water and a spoonful of flour for ten minutes. The mussels will eat the flour and expel any sand, cleaning themselves.

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