Shetland mussel cassoulet

The Recipes / Seafood 

Lindeth Howe, Cumbria

2kg shetland mussels, cleaned, bearded, washed
1 stick celery, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped 750ml Chardonnay white wine 1 sprig thyme
100g cold salted butter 250ml extra virgin olive oil 100g chopped flat parsley
6 ripe large vine tomatoes stalk intact

Serves 6

Heat a large casserole on full heat on the hob. Discard any mussels that are open or broken. Pour in the drained mussels, sliced vegetables and garlic. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and leave for 5 minutes, shaking occasionally until the shells open, then add the wine and thyme and cover for a further 5–10 minutes until the mussels feel plump and firm enough to separate from their shells. Drain into a colander with a bowl beneath to collect all the cooking liquor.

Remove the mussels from their shells and keep the vegetables all together. Pour the liquor into a saucepan and boil until reduced by half. Whisk in the butter and olive oil whilst boiling. The liquor will emulsify.

Snip the tomatoes off the vine, leaving the stalks attached, and score a circle around the stalk. Boil a pan of water and dip the tomatoes one by one, holding by the stalk. When the tomato skin starts to split plunge it into a bowl of cold water. Peel the tomatoes and cut the stalk area out: keep to one side for use as a ‘lid’ when serving. Scoop out the centre of the tomatoes and season inside with sea salt and pepper.

When ready, warm the tomatoes and place on warmed plates. Place the mussels, vegetables, and chopped parsley into a saucepan together and warm gently in the liquor sauce. Spoon into the tomatoes and replace the tomato top.