Mussels with leeks & saffron
- Preparation and cooking time
- More effort
- Serves 8
Combine mussels with leeks, sherry, white wine, double cream, garlic and parsley to make this Spanish-themed dish. It makes a great starter or light lunch
- 3kg mussels
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 leeks , trimmed, cut into rings and washed well
- 2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
- a few parsley sprigs, some thyme and a few bay leaves, tied together to make a bouquet garni
- 400ml dry sherry
- 100ml dry white wine
- big pinch of saffron
- 200ml double cream
- 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley , finely chopped
- STEP 1
Wash the mussels in a sink of cold water, removing any little beards and scrubbing any barnacles. Tap each one on the side of the sink – if the mussel doesn’t close tightly, discard it (also discard any with broken shells). Put the mussels in a colander (in batches) and rinse really well under cold running water.
- STEP 2
Heat the oil in a large pan (or two pans if you don’t have one big enough to fit all the mussels). Sauté the leeks for 8-10 mins until softening, then add the garlic and cook for another few mins. Add the bouquet garni, pour over the sherry and wine, sprinkle over the saffron and bring to just under the boil. Stir to help the saffron flavour the wine.
- STEP 3
Turn the heat down to medium-low, then add the mussels and stir. Cover the pan and allow the mussels to cook until they open (this will take about 4 mins), shaking the pan a few times. Remove the bouquet garni. Add the cream, stir and heat through. Taste for seasoning (mussels are always pretty salty, so you shouldn’t need to add anything). Scatter over the parsley, then transfer the mussels to a large, warm serving dish or serve them straight from the pan.
SWAP OUT THE SAFFRON
If you aren’t keen on saffron, you can alter this dish slightly by leaving it out and adding some sautéed chorizo instead for a gentle smoky flavour. Add about 110g chorizo, chopped and cooked in olive oil.