Mussels and mushrooms are not nearly as common a combination as other classic mollusc pairings, but they sit happily side by side especially when given a mellow spicy, smoky kick from the Tagine Paste, which also enriches the sauce. If you can’t get hold of wild mushrooms, just use some extra cultivated ones instead.
3 tbsp Early Harvest olive oil
300g mixed mushrooms, such as button, chestnut and Portobello, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
100g wild mushrooms, such as chanterelle and girolles
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
100ml white wine
4 tsp Tagine Paste
150ml crème fraiche
2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Depending on where you buy your mussels from, they will often need to be soaked for a while to remove any grit, although many of the cultivated ones are often fairly clean. Allow to soak in the fridge for a few hours, changing the water once or twice. Once soaked, drain and then remove any beards from the mussels, then set aside.
Put a wide based pan on a medium heat, and when hot, add the mixed cultivated mushrooms with a little salt and pepper and stir. The mushrooms will often soak up the oil but don’t fret as eventually they will release the oil along with some of their moisture. Once softened, around 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, followed by the Tagine Paste. Stir well to dissipate and cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes, to allow the flavour of the spices to be released.
Add the wild mushrooms then the mussels to a large saucepan, stir to combine and then add the white wine. Cover with a tight fitting lid and turn the heat up to full. Give the pan a shake from time to time and after 4 – 5 minutes, remove the lid to see if the mussels have opened. If not, replace the lid and cook for another 2 minutes. If open, turn the heat down to medium, add the crème fraiche and stir well to mix. If the sauce looks a little thick, add a splash of water and mix again. Divide everything between bowls, discarding any mussels that haven’t opened and then scatter with parsley.