"Pick good, heavy mussels. If it's a light mussel it's probably been out of the water a bit longer. If you can't get purslane, you could use iceberg lettuce cut into chiffonade. That's got sort of the same freshness and watery crunch." At The Apollo, Barthelmess cooks the mussels over the woodfired grill; you could cook them on a woodfired barbecue instead of in a saucepan.
- 1.2 kg mussels, scrubbed
- To serve: rock salt (optional)
- To serve: purslane leaves (see note)
- 250 ml dry white wine
- 80 ml white wine vinegar (⅓ cup)
- ½ tsp saffron threads
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil (⅓ cup)
- 1For saffron vinaigrette, simmer wine, vinegar and saffron in a saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced by two-thirds (12-15 minutes), remove from heat, stir in sugar to dissolve, season to taste, whisk in olive oil and cool to room temperature.
- 2Heat a large saucepan over high heat until very hot (1-2 minutes), add mussels, cover with a glass lid and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until mussels just open (3-5 minutes; remove cooked mussels with tongs as they open).
- 3Remove mussels from shells, toss in saffron vinaigrette and season to taste. Clean half the mussel shells, place a mussel in each, drizzle with a little extra saffron vinaigrette and serve on a bed of rock salt, scattered with purslane.
Purslane is available from select greengrocers; it may need to be ordered ahead.
This recipe is from the May 2012 issue of
Drink Suggestion: Champagne. Drink suggestion by Sam Christie