- 40 g butter
- 2 shallots (or 1 small onion) chopped
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 100 g celery, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 kg mussels, cleaned
- 1 cup dry white wine, plus 2 T
- 4 T crème fraîche
- Italian parsley, a handful, chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- French fries, for serving
- Home-made mayonnaise, to taste
Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan, add the shallots, carrots and celery and cook gently for 5 minutes, or until tender, but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Add the mussels, all at once, Pour in the wine and bring to a rapid boil and immediately cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over a medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, for 3–5 minutes, or until the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that do not open.
Add the crème fraîche and parsley and boil for 1–2 minutes to reduce slightly. Season to taste.
Transfer the mussels to a warmed serving dish or individual bowls. Pour over the hot sauce, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve immediately. Serve with French fries and mayonnaise.
Cook's note: The reason I love this recipe so much is because it was the first time I ate mussels. I grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi and they are not commonly eaten there. This was also the first time my mother, Maria, gave me a cooking tip. She told me to only add fresh herbs (parsley, coriander or basil) once the mussels have opened and then continue cooking for one minute. After that, whenever she wanted to make me something special she cooked this dish. I’m trying to continue this tradition by often cooking mussels at home in Johannesburg for my wife and daughters.