The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Dining al fresco

...and another summer is almost gone! To tell you the truth I am not entirely sure we even had one this year. June and July have been wet and windy and August has mixed some sunny muggy days with rain and clouds. I knew I should have planned a Spring baby and fly away a few months after! Lesson learnt for the next one!

In the meantime though I don't miss any opportunity to sit in the garden and enjoy a glimpse of sun. This lunch we put together at the last minute opened a window onto a luminous pier we were strolling along this time last year in Liguria, enjoying the singing of the seagulls and the screams of children running for their third ice cream of the day.

Linguine con le cozze is a "must" in our family in the Summer. And it is not the mussels cooked in the French style; oh no, they are as simple as possible with just those few ingredients that enhance the smell and taste of salt and sea. I can almost hear the waves crushing against the rocks.


The best thing of this dish is its versatility. Cooked as a starter can then be used to dress your pasta to make a fantastic first course.

For 4 people

1kg mussels
2 handful of parsley
2 garlic cloves
half chilly
1 lemon cut into quarters
3-4 tbsp olive oil

Of course the key is in the freshness of the mussels. And if they don't open when you cook them in the pan, just throw them away, you don't want to get poisoned.

Clean the little black fellows - if your fishmonger hasn't done that for you - with a knife or hard sponge and place them in a reasonably deep pot with the lid.

Add the lemon wedges, garlic, chilly, chopped parsley and oil to the pan.

With the lid closed, simmer for 5-7 minutes until the mussels have opened and absorbed some of the juice. You will see that they release more juice - which will create that fantastic sauce to either mop your bread in or pan fry your pasta.


Let's hope for more sun. I dread Winter....


  1. Its true - mussels in the winter never seem quite the same. But maybe you know of some clever recipes to help make the musselly summer sun continue to shine even in the darkness of English autumn?

  2. I love them in "frittata" - open them and place each half on the bottom of a frying pan. Separately beat the eggs with parsley and Parmesan and distribute them among the mussels. You will get a fantastic omelette!

    Otherwise, how about a mussels and chickpeas soup?