Mussel and parsley soup

Mussel and parsley soup

By
From
Margaret Fulton Favourites
Serves
6
Photographer
Tanya Zouev and Armelle Habib

All it took was a telephone call from Suzanne. ‘Mum, the kids are going to the fish markets, would you like them to get some mussels for lunch?’ My reply was prompt: ‘Sure, and would you like me to show you how I make the mussel soup you all rave about?’

The kids (who are actually adults) were back with the mussels as I arrived with a loaf of sourdough bread, and then it was all action. Everyone had a job — setting the table, scrubbing the mussels, chopping onions and parsley, or keeping the cats away. I love the atmosphere of everyone across the generations working together, bonded by a common love — eating good food.

Mussels are quite cheap and make a great meal. But you have to be choosy. Try to get fairly small ones — preferably Australian cultivated mussels — that feel heavy for their size. This is a great soup for a fun and relaxed gathering.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2kg mussels
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3/4 cup verjuice
or 1 cup dry white wine, (see tip)
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Scrub the mussels well in several changes of water. Tug off the beards and rinse the mussels thoroughly. Place the mussels in a large saucepan with 1⁄2 cup of water and steam, covered, shaking the pan occasionally, for 4–6 minutes, or until the shells have opened. Drain the mussels in a colander set over a bowl, reserving the liquid. Strain the reserved liquid through a fine sieve into a large measuring jug. Add enough water to the liquid to measure 6 cups altogether. Remove the mussels from the shells and, if you like, leave a few with shells to garnish. Discard shells and set mussels aside.
  2. In a large heavy-based saucepan, heat the oil and cook the onions for 5 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add the reserved mussel liquid and verjuice or wine and bring slowly to the boil, then add breadcrumbs and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Add the parsley and pepper, and continue to simmer gently for another minute without letting the soup boil. Stir in the mussels to reheat them and then serve.

Mussel and parsley soup with cream

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. Make one quantity of mussel and parsley soup. When adding water to reserved liquid, make 5 cups altogether and add 1 cup of cream.

Mussel and parsley soup with wine (mussels marinière)

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. Make one quantity of mussel and parsley soup using only a good-quality white wine (no verjuice) and only 3–4 tablespoons of freshly made breadcrumbs. The opened mussels are left in their shells and a squeeze of lemon juice adds a fresh tang. In France, diners take off the top mussel shell and use it to scoop up the mussel still in the shell. Serve some crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Mussel and parsley soup with tomatoes

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. Make one quantity of mussel and parsley soup with wine but do not add water to the wine. Add 2 peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes, a nut of butter and one chopped clove of garlic.

Note

  • Verjuice is the unfermented juice of unripe grapes and can be used in the same way as lemon juice, vinegar or wine to add a piquancy to dishes.

    Make fresh breadcrumbs by whizzing small pieces of stale sourdough bread in a food processor. If sourdough is not available, use any bread.
Tags:
Margaret
Fulton
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