There is something immensely appealing about cooking mussels and the transformation they undergo. They offer so much flavour for such a frugal cost and that flavour will stand up to plenty of other big hitters, which in this dish, have a nod to the Far East.
1/2kg mussels, scrubbed and cleaned and allowed to soak in clean, salted water for about an hour
1 good sized leek
2 cloves or peeled garlic
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
½ red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 glass of white wine
Fresh Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pepe Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Peel the outer layer of the leek off and then seperate the green top from the white body. Give the both parts a really good wash, sepearting the layers of the tops to expose the dirt if necessary. Shake dry.
Chop the green tops into a small dice. Place a deep pan that has a lid that fits on a medium heat, add a few glugs of oil and when hot, add the leek. Add a pinch of salt. Add the ginger and cook for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and keeping and eye on the heat, till the leeks have softerned and taste sweet. Add the garlic and continue to cook till soft
Cut the white stem of the leek into 4cm pieces and place in the pan and add the wine. If the leeks need a little more liquid to help cover them, add a splash of water or veg stock. Cover the leeks with a pieces of parchment paper and turn the heat down so that they simmer gently. Cook for around 10 minutes, till soft, but not collapsing.
Now add the mussels. Turn the heat up, and put the lid on. Cook on high for around 3 minutes and then check to see if the mussels are open. They might need longer. If there are some that still haven’t opened, discard.
Add a good, generous pour of the Basil Oil and stir through. Spoon into bowls, scatter the chilli and then eat.