Cornish Mussels in Somerset Cider, Wild Garlic and Cream with Fresh White Soda Bread

This is a lovely version of the classic french treatment of Moules - featuring fine local ingredients which elevate this simple dish far beyond the mundane.

A beautifully simple, fresh, crusty Soda Bread adds the final touch - really lifting this into seafood heaven!. 

We recommend sourcing the best mussels that you can find - from a local fishmonger wherever possible (you'll find that the quality far exceeds those in the supermarkets).

And let's not forget lovely local cider, which adds a glorious sweet & sour quality to the dish. 

Ingredients

  • One net - 900g-1.1kg of live Cornish mussels
  • 50g butter
  • 8 leaves of wild garlic, thinly sliced (Or substitute a large bunch of chives)
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 250ml proper Somerset cider
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 150ml single cream
  • A handful of Wild Garlic flowers (or tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley)

 

Method:

This couldn't be simpler. 

Wash mussels in a colander to remove any grit. Pick through them, removing any stringy ‘beards’ from the shells.
Melt butter in a wide heavy-based saucepan. Sauté the garlic and wild garlic over a high heat for 30 secs min before pouring in the cider or perry. Add the thyme and the mussels, cover and cook for 3-4 mins or until the mussels start to open. Add the cream, season and stir in the flowers or parsley.

I like to serve all the mussels in one mighty bowl that everyone can dig into but please feel free to do whatever you're comfortable with. Pour over the sauce with plenty of the braised wild garlic. Mop up the juices with the crusty Soda Bread below.  

 


Crusty Soda Bread

Delicious, crusty white bread in under 40 minutes – with no kneading, or proving! This is wonderfully simple to make and only uses 4 ingredients! Wonderful on its own - even better with the Mussel recipe above - or in fact any other soups or stews. Also the perfect fix at the moment as you won't need to search out yeast or bread flour - which are both virtually impossible to find.
 
Ingredients

  • 350g plain white flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 
  • 285ml buttermilk  (or whole milk with 1tsp lemon juice added 20 mins before using)


Method
Preheat your oven to 180C / 160C fan/ gas mark 4 / 350F.
Oil a baking tray and dust with a little plain flour.
Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly. Tip in the buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon until you have dense dough that you can roll into a ball. It should still be slightly sticky.
Place the ball of dough on your baking tray and cut a deep cross in the centre. (This is really important as it helps the centre of the bread to cook properly – so cut nice and deep, almost to the bottom.)
If you wish, you can dust the loaf with a little flour, then place the bread in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.

It will come out beautifully browned, risen and should sound hollow when you knock on the top. 

 

This loaf breaks beautifully, but if you insist on formality you can also slice it easily. 

 

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