Charcoal mussels with asparagus salad and curry mayonnaise

Charcoal mussels with asparagus salad and curry mayonnaise

Fish Kitchen
David Loftus

This is a fun dish to serve as a starter or light lunch. Mussels and curry partner well, and the asparagus salad is an ideal complement.


Quantity Ingredient
2kg live mussels
100ml water
250g charcoal wafer biscuits
100g plain flour, to dust
2 eggs, lightly beaten
oil, for deep-frying

Curry mayonnaise

Quantity Ingredient
2 egg yolks
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
30ml white wine vinegar
300ml Curry oil

Asparagus salad

Quantity Ingredient
20 asparagus spears
4 teaspoons Red wine shallots, see white wine variation
2 teaspoons coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon onion seeds, toasted, plus an extra sprinkle to finish the mayonnaise
Curry oil
cornish sea salt


  1. Wash the mussels and pull away the hairy beard attached to one end of the shell. Discard any that are open and refuse to close when sharply tapped, and any with damaged shells.
  2. Place a large saucepan (one with a tight-fitting lid) over a high heat. When hot, add the mussels and pour in the water. Cover with the lid and cook for 2 minutes, or until all, or most of them, are open. Tip into a colander over a bowl to catch the liquor. When cool enough to handle, pick out the meat from the shells; discard the shells, including any that are unopened. Let the mussel meat cool.
  3. Finely grind the charcoal wafers in a blender. Put the flour, eggs and charcoal crumbs into separate bowls. Pass the mussels through the flour, shaking off excess, then the eggs and finally coat in the crumbs. Set aside on a tray.
  4. For the mayonnaise, put the egg yolks, garlic and wine vinegar into a blender and blend for 30 seconds, then with the motor running, slowly add the curry oil in a steady stream. If it gets too thick, add 1 teaspoon of water, then continue. Season with salt, spoon into a bowl and set aside.
  5. For the salad, bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Trim the asparagus and peel the lower end of the stems, then blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh in ice-cold water. Drain and pat dry. Slice the asparagus thinly on the diagonal and place in a bowl with the white wine shallots, coriander and onion seeds. Add a drizzle of curry oil, season with salt and mix gently.
  6. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 180°C and deep-fry the mussels, in batches as necessary, for 2 minutes until crispy. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with salt.
  7. Share the salad and mussels between plates and serve the curry mayonnaise on the side, topped with a sprinkling of onion seeds.
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