If the use of ginger and saffron seem suspiciously modern, you may be surprised to learn that this recipe was actually based on a 15th century culinary manuscript kept in the library of the Ghent-based 'Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde' (the Royal Academy for Dutch Language and -Literature).
This recipe has been translated and adapted from the original Dutch in Kastelenkookboek cookbook and published on the Dutch Food site with the kind permission of the publisher.
Yield: Serves 2
- 2.2 lb/1 kilo mussels
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- A few threads of saffron, crushed in a pestle and mortar
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 pint/½ liter white wine
- 3 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- YOU WILL NEED:
- A mussel pot (optional) or Dutch oven
- A frying pan
Now add the white wine and cover the pot. Once the mussels have opened (this should take mere minutes) remove from the stove and toss the mussels into a large bowl. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Remove the mussel meat from their shells (use an empty shell as a makeshift pincer to pinch out the flesh).
Add the rest of the olive oil to a frying pan, along with the chopped onion. Gently cook the onion until just glazed and then add the mussel flesh and mix well. Now add the ground ginger and saffron. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the mussels and serve with crusty bread, a green salad and a glass of crisp white wine.
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