Chilli mussels - a game changer

Cooked mussels in cooking dish and lemon on wood

Recently, it was my turn to host the lads back at my place for the traditional 19th hole drinks after our mid-week game of golf. Trudging the local royal and ancient parkland with a few sandscrape greens for a hit and giggle were 12 middle aged blokes, all kidding ourselves that a game of golf was good exercise. One constant is that after the game the lads are thirsty and hungry.

It is customary to take turns hosting. Some stay for one or two and others you need to kick out the door so you can get a few hours’ sleep before work the next day. My number had come up, and on these occasions you want food that is easy, quick and a little more inventive than firing up the BBQ and presenting the bog standard sausage in bread.

With little time on my hands, I’d preplanned by grabbing a few kilo bags of Kinkawooka mussels the previous day and stashing them in the fridge. We don’t often think of mussels when choosing a protein that is quick cheap and cheerful. However, mussels are the perfect crowd pleaser.

You can cook mussels with any manner of combinations, and I had noticed we had a few fresh chilies in the bowl from the weekend. Perfect – chilli mussels: what a great combination!

As the lads were stocking the fire pit, arranging the outdoor furniture and arguing about who hit the longest drive, I quickly ducked into the kitchen, grabbed a big pot with a steam lid and got started.

People in a restaurant with Steamed mussels and fried on the table

Simple, fresh and very tasty

I chopped up about four tomatoes, a couple of garlic cloves, three chillies, sliced up a couple of shallots and roughly chopped some basil that was sitting on the kitchen bench.

A splash of oil went into the pot over a medium heat and I dumped the garlic, chillies and shallots in with a big dollop of tomato paste, stirring for about 2 minutes.

In went the chopped tomatoes and basil. A stir, then I let it sit whilst I checked on the lads to make sure they hadn’t burnt the backyard down, and had a beer.

Back to the kitchen, I turned the heat up high and poured in around a cup and a half of white wine, threw in some butter, the chopped up basil, and if you have any saffron, a few strings would be great, but I didn’t have any handy.

In go the mussels, pop the steam lid on and about 5 minutes later you have a feast.

Old man cooking in the kitchen

It started a trend

The guys weren’t expecting this culinary experience, so the space went quiet as their mouths were full and the backs of their arms dirty from wiping the juices from their lips.

This experiment has upped the ante. Doing the maths, it didn’t cost much more than providing the local butcher’s sausages, bacon, onion and buns. The big plus was inspiring a bunch of old men to look closer at what they eat and start experimenting with their food creativity.

The proceeding weeks have seen a committed shift from burnt snags to more interesting foods for our Thursday night snacks, and a new conversation.

Thanks guys – Love your mussels.

Cheers, Ben.

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Where to buy

You can find our mussels on supermarket shelves or from specialty seafood retailers. We offer both live pot ready and cooked mussels, to give you more options for a quick and healthy meal in minutes.