Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mussels with Beurre Blanc sauce

Making sauces is a very important and very satisfying process in becoming a good home chef. Buerre Blanc is one of those all time classics and you probably have had it if you eat fish out in restaurants. The sauce generally is served with fish courses.

My previous recipe was Moules Marinières and this is a carry on from that. The process is exactly the same only that you whisk in loads of butter into the finished sauce right at the end. This is exactly the sort of dish I like to eat when I am away. Every time I taste the mussel flavours I think of Spain. Everyone has food memories and they are very important as they generally bring happiness.

Mussels with Beurre Blanc sauce

by Trevor Thornton

Serves 4

Difficulty Moderate

1 large bag of mussels
100 dry white wine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, very finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
100g unsalted butter, cubes and really cold
½ lemon


Wash the mussels under cold running water in a sink, removing any beards and barnacles. Just use your fingers and don’t scrub the shells with anything. Discard any mussels that float or remain open when tapped against the side of the sink. This means that they are dead and should not be eaten at all.

Place a large saucepan over a medium high heat and once the sauce pan is up to temperature add the olive oil and onion. Cook the onion for 3-4 minutes then add the garlic. Cook for a further minute then add the wine. Simmer for 2 minutes to remove the acidic alcohol taste and add the mussels. Cover with a lid and cook for 2-4 minutes or until the shells have opened. Discard any shells that are still closed as these are dead also.

Remove the liquid from the saucepan and keep separate. Remove the mussels from the shells and discard the shells. Pour half of the liquid into a clean saucepan and bring up to a hot temperature but don’t boil it as this will split the butter. You only use half the sauce as the finished sauce would be too salty if the whole amount was used. Whisk in the butter one cube at a time. You will see that the sauce begins to thicken the more butter you add in. Once all of the butter has been incorporated the sauce will have thickened and will be really glossy. Add the lemon juice and whisk to incorporate. Keep warm and set aside.

Arrange the mussels in the centre of a plate and pour the buerre blanc around the side of the plate. Decorate with chives and basil if you have them.

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