Mussels

Pick mussels when there is an ‘r’ in the month, avoid after rainfall and try and go for large ones with as few barnacles on them as possible. This should save time on preparation and will help make the dish less gritty. Pick mussels off the rocks sporadically rather than all in one place. Try and remove their ‘beards’. The ‘beard’ is a collection of byssus threads that the mussel squirts out in liquid form to attach itself to rocks, acting like an anchor. Pick only what you will eat and make your dish the same day or the next at the latest. I don’t bother purging the mussels but if you want your meal to be completely grit-free, scrape and scrub every mussel and pop them in a bowl of water so they are totally submerged and add salt so they think they are back in the sea. Add oatmeal or bread if you want but it isn’t necessary. If there are any mussels that are open at this stage, chuck them (if they are open a slight bit, these will be fine – they are just filtering). Once the mussels are cooked using whichever method, if there are any that are closed, chuck them – never try and force a mussel open as they are most likely dead.

To cook them, either grill them, pop them whole on a barbeque, pan fry in butter or oil with shallots to then make moules marinieres with cream, thyme, white wine and garlic…