The flavour power of mussels
  |  First Published: September 2003

MUSSELS are brilliant in their ability to marry with a multitude of other flavours. Mediterranean, Thai, French… there’s an endless variety of cuisines that will partner with mussels.

In this month's Cooking Corner I’ll show you how to prepare both grilled mussels and baked mussels.


In this delicious recipe the mussels are topped with a herby, chilli spiked mixture and then grilled to a beautiful golden brown.


2kg mussels

1 clove garlic, crushed

small handful fresh basil leaves

1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan

1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons olive oil


• Wash and scrub the mussels well, removing any beards. Add half a cup of water to a large saucepan and steam the mussels for about five minutes or until they open. Remove the mussels from the pan and, most importantly, discard any mussels that don't open. Then remove one half of each shell and loosen the mussel meat in the remaining shell.

• Using a food processor, add the garlic, basil, chilli, lemon zest, parmesan and half of the breadcrumbs. Pulse the food processor until the ingredients form a fine mixture. Drizzle the olive oil into the mixture in the food processor and pulse until well combined.

• Preheat your grill. Spoon a little of the paste over each mussel and top with a sprinkling of the remaining breadcrumbs. Pop the mussels under the preheated grill until golden brown and bubbling.


The flavour of the baked mussels in this recipe is deliciously herby and very French.


2kg mussels

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 golden shallots, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

100g butter

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon chopped chives


• Wash the mussels and remove any beards. Place the mussels in a large saucepan with the white wine and steam until the mussels open. Discard any mussels that don't open. Remove half of the mussel shell and loosen the mussel meat in the remaining shell. Place the remaining shell with the mussel into an ovenproof dish.

• Preheat your oven to 180C/375F.

• Make a herb butter mixing the thyme, shallots, parsley, garlic, chives and butter. Place a very generous amount of the herb butter on the top of each mussel. Place the mussels into the oven and bake until the butter has melted. This will take about three minutes.

• Serve with heaps of crusty bread to mop up the delicious buttery juices.

Try Montana Patutahi Estate Gewurztraminer with the grilled and baked mussels. The flavour intensity of the grapes produces a wine with aromatic spicy aromas that blend well with the mussels.

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