Entirely self taught, Raymond Blanc is now one of the world’s leading chefs. He has brought his passion for exquisite French cuisine to the UK and has a number of restaurants, many of which have earned Michelin stars. WWF is honoured to have him supporting Earth Hour this year.
“This is such a simple ask, switch off your lights on the 23rd March at 8.30pm and enjoy one of my meals by candlelight. It is romantic and you are highlighting a great cause at the same time, what could be more important than looking after our planet”.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
This Normandy classic has become a worldwide favourite, yet it is one of the simplest dishes to make at home. The key, as ever, is the freshness of the mussels. A fresh mussel is shiny, tightly closed and heavy with seawater, with no ‘fishy’ smell. If you find mussels like this, you will be in for a feast.
- 1.8 kg (4lb) best-quality mussels
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 15g (½ oz ) unsalted butter
- 100ml (3 ½ oz) dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons whipping cream
- 25g (1 oz ) fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1. Cleaning the mussels
Wash the mussels under cold running water, but don’t scrub the shells or the colour will transfer to the juices during cooking, giving them an unappetizing grey appearance. If any of the mussels float it means they are not very fresh, so discard them (and ask your fishmonger to credit them). Press the shells of any open mussels together with your fingers; if they don’t close, discard them. Scrape off any barnacles from the mussels with a sharp knife and pull out the ‘beards’, then drain well.
2. Cooking the onion and herbs
Over a medium heat, in a large pan, soften the onion, bay leaves and thyme in the butter for 1 minute.
3. Cooking the mussels
Add the mussels and white wine, cover the pan tightly with a lid and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the mussels open.
4. Finishing the dish
Stir in the cream and chopped parsley, then serve in a large dish or 4 soup plates. Give finger bowls to your guests and lots of good French bread to mop up the wonderful juices