While oysters, mussels and scallops receive their fair share of attention, there's a bevy of other shellfish, too, such as pippies, cockles and clams, which promise plenty of pleasure on the plate. These daintier varieties, along with mussels, should be purchased alive. You can check their condition by tapping any open shells - they should close immediately. They're sometimes sold sandless (that is, purged of sand), but if they're not, you'll need to purge them. Do this by soaking in salted cold water for about an hour. Discard any shells that don't open during cooking. While fresh scallops are available to restaurants, they're harder for home cooks to lay their hands on. Look for examples with plump flesh and always buy them fresh rather than frozen. If you can't find shellfish at your local market or fishmonger, give your local Chinatown a go.
- 1 kg blue mussels, scrubbed, beards removed
- 120 gm day-old sourdough bread, crusts removed
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (loosely packed)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 100 gm cultured butter, melted
- 1Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add mussels, cover and steam for 3 minutes or until mussels just open. Drain mussels and cool. Remove and discard top shell of mussels and refrigerate until required.
- 2Cut bread into small pieces and process in a food processor into coarse breadcrumbs, add parsley leaves and garlic and process until parsley is finely chopped and mixture is well combined. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- 3Preheat grill on high. Place mussels on an oven tray, spoon over breadcrumb mixture and drizzle with melted butter. Grill for 2 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately.
Drink Suggestion: Cold lager. Drink suggestion by Max Allen