Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mussels Provencal avec Rouille

This recipe does not take much time at all, and tastes simply fabulous. Rouille is a flavoursome version of mayonnaise customarily served with seafood dishes like Bouillabaisse and goes great with the mussels. The roasted pepper, saffron and paprika blended into the sauce give it the gorgeous rich colour and robust flavour. Leftover rouille can very well be used in crab croissants instead of regular mayo, since the roasted flavours pair well with seafood. Preparing the rouille will take you longer than the actual mussels, so I suggest preparing that one first.

Mussels Provencal

Ingredients: 2 kg mussels, 2 tbs olive oil, 1 white onion, finely chopped, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 3 large ripe tomatoes, diced, 1 bay leaf, 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced, pinch of saffron threads, 1 tsp sea salt, 250 ml white wine, 1 handful flat leaf (Italian) parsley

Method: Clean the mussels in cold water remove beards and barnacles; throw any away that do not close when you tap them.

Put the oil, onion and garlic into a large lidded saucepan and cook them over low heat until onion is transparent. Add the tomato, bay leaf, fennel and saffron, season with sea salt and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in the white wine, bring the sauce to the boil and add the mussels. Cover with the lid and cook a few minutes, shaking the pan once or twice. Check all the mussels have opened. Throw away any that remain closed.

Divide the mussels into four big bowls, sprinkle with parsley and serve with rouille and crusty French baguette.


Ingredients: 1 thick slice sour-dough bread, pinch of saffron threads, 3 tbsp water, 1 roasted red pepper, ¼ tsp paprika, 2 garlic cloves, 125 ml olive oil, 2 eggs, sea salt to taste

Method: Simply tear the sour dough bread into pieces and put in a bowl. Put a pinch of saffron threads in 3 tbsp of water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer for 1 minute. Pour the hot saffron water over the bread in the bowl. Allow to sit for 1 minute before putting in a food processor or blender. Add the flesh of 1 roasted bell pepper, ¼ tsp paprika and 2 garlic cloves and blend to form a smooth paste. Add in the eggs and blend and then add the olive oil in a stream, mixing all the while to ensure it emulsifies. Season with salt.

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