The humble mussel might seem like a throwaway ingredient but it’s actually quite versatile and utterly delicious, especially when served in the classic French dish moules à la mariniere with a glass of crisp white wine. And it’s a pretty easy dish to make at home too.
Mussels are natural filter feeders that form an important part of healthy marine ecosystems. But they’re not just great for the environment – they are also a delicacy that we enjoy around the world and they’re easy to cook.
To get the most out of your mussels, always buy them fresh and scrub them well in cold water, removing any barnacles or dirt and discarding any that fail to open (they’re dead). Remove the ‘beard’, a fibrous clump of hairs that sprouts from the shell, by giving it a sharp tap towards its hinge end. Then keep the cleaned mussels in a bowl of fresh, cold water until you’re ready to use them. Change the water two or three times to ensure it’s fresh and to allow the mussels to expel any sand they may have accumulated.
The Belgian documentary maker Jan Deprest and the director Willemiek Kluijfhout are preparing a sequel to L’Amour des Moules. This time they’ll test whether musselglue can stick to the foetal membranes of pregnant rabbits and sheep and prevent the amniotic fluid from leaking.