We love to forage for free food, and mussels are bountiful and easy to find in Scotland – but make sure you watch out for the friendly seals!
Wherever you are in the UK, there will be mussels abound, but, as the story goes, only eat them when there is an “R” in the month. Before cooking, drop them in a bucket of cold water for about 4 hours so they rid themselves of grit. Clean the shells from any barnacles, remove the beard and wash in cold water.
Ingredients (serves two)
2 good handfuls of mussels
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 glass white wine
3–5 sprigs of curly parsely
Knob of butter and a glug of olive oil (1 tbsp)
Salt and pepper
- Melt the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan (which has a lid)
- Add the garlic a few minutes later, so you don’t burn it, then the mussels and wine
- Put on the lid on and leave to simmer, keeping an eye on the mussels to see when they start to open. This will take around 10–15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and taste the juice to see if it needs seasoning, add your chopped parsley and voila – a feast fit for a king.
- Remember to discard any mussels which are still closed at the end. Another method is to use exactly the same ingredients but steam the mussels in a large pan until open. Drain, then when cooled, pop the mussel out of the shell and add to the pan of ready cooked onion, garlic and parsley. Serve with a hunk of buttery bread, preferably on a beach somewhere remote.