Is there anything better than a steaming pot of mussels? They sing of summer by the sea and make you want to dive straight in and get your hands dirty. Irish mussels are among the best in the world, with our pristine waters producing world class shellfish packed with flavour. As well as this, they are highly nutritious and a great source of protein and iron.
Mussels are always tempting on restaurant menus and everyone loves the classic Moules Mariniére, deliciously rich with white wine and lashings of garlic and perfect mopped up with some crusty bread. However, mussels are incredibly versatile and lend themselves perfectly to so many different flavours and combinations.
Bord Bia’s #FlexYourMussels campaign is designed to help you try something new at home with mussels or choose them on menus when dining out. We’ve put together five tempting takes that elevate the humble mussel to new heights, with fabulous additions like bacon and chorizo, different sauce bases from craft beer to creamy lemon creme fraiche and plenty of inspiration for your next mussels feast at home.
A prime example of the versatility of mussels is how well they work with chilli, garlic and pasta. This recipe is perfect for dinner, with the chilli flakes giving the dish a little kick without overpowering the other flavours, letting the mussels shine.
Phil Vickery’s tempting take on mussels pairs them with spicy sausage in the form of chorizo, but Calabrian sausage N’duja is also absolutely delicious to add a little fire to your dish. This is a hearty way to enjoy mussels, especially if you add some warm ciabatta bread to ensure you get every last drop of deliciousness out of it, or even traditional frites. Get the recipe here.
Mussels need a liquid base to steam to perfection in mere minutes, and this Mussels with Craft Beer and Bacon uses fantastic Irish IPA as a malty and citrus-spiked base, as well as smokey bacon to create incredible depth of flavour. As mussels are so affordable (I picked up a kilo with change from a fiver) you can splurge a little on pairing it with artisan Irish ingredients, like the insanely tasty Gubbeen Smoked Bacon in this recipe.
It is always a treat to pick up mussels from your local area, and here Chef Chad Byrne uses Cromane mussels, sourced only half an hour from Danú restaurant. Roaring Bay and Blackwater mussels from Cork are fabulous, as are Carlingford and Connemara mussels and all would work beautifully in this smokey Ancho Chilli and Tomato Mussels recipe.
Love indulgent pasta dishes but not the bloat? Try something a little lighter with this Mussels, Lemon Creme Fraiche and Courgette Papardelle recipe by Darina Coffey. The freshness of lemon and tangy creme fraiche work beautifully with the ribbons of courgette, and with no pasta you save room for more delicious mussels! As mussels are packed with protein and zinc, they are naturally nutritious, so this dish is perfect if you’re ‘being good’.
This article is sponsored by Bord Bia. For more fantastic recipes visit www.bordbia.com.