Chef Judi Shares: Mussels in Peated Whisky

Reading Time: 2 minutes

From the kitchen of Chef Judi.

I believe in sustainability, and securing the future of our oceans. If we don’t take care of it now, what will the state of our oceans and their ecosystems be in a few year’s time?

Choosing green-listed fish species plays such an important role in the dishes I serve in my restaurants. And as custodians of our natural environment, choosing green — whether you are cooking at home or dining out — provides us with the power to ensure a better future. Not only for the sake of our food security but also to protect the livelihood of local fishing communities.

Did you know that the South African black mussel is on the WWF SASSI Green List which means it is a sustainable choice from the healthiest and most well-managed populations? As mussels are filter feeders no feed is required and damage to the environment is minor and generally limited to the immediate area.

Peated whisky has a smoky flavour due to the compounds released by the peat fires used to dry malted barley, and it pairs incredibly well with mussels. So if you have some whisky in the cupboard, why not try my Mussels in Peaty Whisky?

Ingredients

300g live fresh mussels
2 leeks
10 pieces streaky bacon
70ml peated whisky
500ml cream
1 knob of butter
Parsley or herbs to garnish
Baguette or fresh bread

Method

This is one-pot dish but you definitely need a lid. So choose a medium-sized pot with a lid that sits nice and snug to steam the mussels. 

  1. Make sure the beard is removed from your mussels.
  2. Chop and rinse the leeks.
  3. Chop the streaky bacon into cubes; get a medium saucepan on medium heat and first fry off the bacon, leeks, and butter until bacon is crispy.
  4. Add the mussels.
  5. Add the whisky.
  6. Close the lid to steam until mussels open.
  7. When the mussels have opened remove them into serving bowls. Discard any that do not open naturally.
  8. To the pot, add the cream and reduce until the sauce thickens. To check the thickness, coat the back of the spoon and draw a line on the spoon with your finger, if the line stays and the sauce doesn’t cover it is perfect.
  9. Pour the hot sauce on top of the mussels.
  10. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with fries or fresh bread.
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