Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Italian Cookery Course: Soup Aux Moules

Blimey... I just realised it's been almost a week since my last post! I've got a wee bit of catching up to do - what a busy week! Though not in the kitchen - the last two nights we've had takeaway... tsk tsk tsk...

Anyway, here is one of the recipes from my Italian cookery class last week by Francis Adou - a gorgeous, rich, creamy mussel soup. I seldom eat cream, and as such this was maybe a little bit too rich for me - I think next time I will serve it in half size portions.

Because there will be a next time - it was seriously good!

It was the first time I've cooked with mussels - I was always a little bit scared on them. The first time I ever ate mussels I got terrible food poisoning. (I even went blind for a couple of hours - took me a long time to even look at shellfish again...) I think that put me off cooking any shellfish - I didn't want to be responsible for causing anyone else that kind of sickness! Anyway, under the watchful eye of Francis, I cleaned and de-bearded, and discarded the dead ones - and I'm now confident I can go it alone!

Soup Aux Moules
Excuse the sloppy bowl and dark picture - I was at Boyfriend's house, and starving! My belly became more important than the photo ;)

Serves 2 large bowls - or 4 small :)
  • 3 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 20 g flour
  • 250 ml fish stock
  • Generous pinch of saffron
  • 100 ml double cream
  • Sea salt
  • 250ml white wine
  • 500g mussels
  • ½ bunch of flat parsley
  • olive oil to fry
Sort and clean the mussels - pull out the stringy beard, discard any that are cracked, or any that are open and don't close up when gently tapped!

Heat the oil and fry the shallots gently for 4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes until the shallots are soft but not coloured.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir well to absorb all the oil. Slowly add the stock, mixing to make a smooth broth. At this point it felt like I was making a risotto - which I now have a craving to do! Could be a plan for tonight - I'm having the girls round!

Add the saffron, cream and seasoning, then simmer for 15 minutes. Make sure

Meanwhile, in a different pan, heat the wine over a medium heat. Add all the mussels, then cover and cook for 4/5 minutes until they are all open. (Any that are not open after 6 minutes should be discarded.)

Strain the liquid, allow to cool slightly, and add it to the soup. Allow the mussels to cool, then remove the meat from the shells and add to the soup.

Reheat gently (don't let it boil!), add the parsley, and serve.

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