Newlyn Mussels

In what has become a holiday tradition, we took the hour-long drive down to Newlyn to buy shellfish from the harbour wall. The Newlyn fishmongers are the real deal; there is no fuss, just glistening fresh north Atlantic fish presented on slabs of ice.¬†Turbot, sole, whiting, mackerel, monkfish, scallops, mussels, crabs (spider and brown), little tiny prawns, lobster, dab… I would have happily taken home the lot. Even better, the prices are cheaper than in Brum, which I suppose is what you’d expect given that the fishing boats land 100m away.

We bought a kilo of mussels, filthy with seaweed. They needed a good soak and a lengthy pick with a small knife to loosen off the beards and general detritus. But cleaned up, these were the king of mussels, fat and full.

I steamed them open in white wine, garlic and shallots, then finished the sauce with a handful of parsley and a dollop of clotted cream. We mopped up the sauce with crusty sourdough, bought from a tiny deli near Newlyn Art Gallery. To finish, new season cherries and strawberries.

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Newlyn mussels

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New season strawberries and cherries

Newlyn Mussels

Butter

Olive oil

1 kilo mussels, thoroughly cleaned

1 shallot, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Dry white wine, about a wine-glass full

Clotted cream, about a tablespoon

Flat-leaf parsley, a good handful

In a wide-lidded frying pan or saucepan, melt a knob of butter with the olive oil on a medium heat. When frothing, add the shallot and soften for a minute or two. Add the garlic and cook until the scent rises – about 20 seconds. Toss in the mussels with the white wine, give the pan a shake, then cover and leave to cook. The mussels will open in the steam, it usually takes about 3 or 4 minutes. When nearly done, dollop in the cream and the parsley and shake to combine. Cook for a minute more, then serve. Good crusty bread is essential to mop up the juices.

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