- Prep time: 10min
- Cook time: 20min
- Total time: 30min
- Difficulty: Basic
When purchasing mussels, make sure they do not have a fishy odor. The sea should be able to be smelled. Those with cracked or open shells, or those who refuse to close their shells when tapped, should be discarded. Those people are most likely dying or dead. Cook the mussels on the same day, ideally within 2 hours of purchasing them. If you must store them, place them in a bowl and cover with a damp towel to allow them to breathe.
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 150ml dry white wine
- 1kg mussels, scrubbed and bearded
- 100ml heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
In a small bowl, soak saffron in hot water. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Cook for 5 minutes, or until shallots and garlic are soft. Bring the wine to a boil. Turn the heat up to high. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until mussels open, shaking the pan occasionally. Place the mussels in a bowl and set aside. Unopened mussels should be discarded. Bring liquid to a boil and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Bring the saffron and cream to a boil. To reheat the mussels, stir in the butter and parsley. Distribute mussels among plates and top with sauce. Serve right away with crusty bread and a glass of wine.
I only recently discovered my passion for shellfish. Growing up in a small town in Croatia’s continental part, my only exposure to seafood was in the form of frozen fish fingers. They did not appeal to me either. Later on, I began to appreciate the magic of a well-prepared fresh fish. After relocating to a large city with numerous fish markets, I gradually learned how to buy, clean, and cook fish. And I enjoyed it!
The shellfish, on the other hand, remained a mystery to me. They even made me feel awestruck. I knew nothing about shellfish and, while I was afraid of them, I secretly wanted to try them. But I couldn’t bring myself to buy a bag of mussels and try my luck. I prefer to stay safe, and that operation would have pushed me far beyond my comfort zone. I wasn’t prepared.
That was ridiculous, I realize now. I’m almost angry at myself for being too cautious in the past, and I can’t help but wonder what else I’ve been missing all these years. People do evolve. That’s a good thing.
In the meantime, I’ve had a lot of good times with shellfish. Our relationship, though rocky at first, blossomed into a beautiful and passionate love affair.