Mussels are one of those things that many people just never cook at home. Anyone that loves them has their own favourite way of preparation but the best way is to keep it simple. Here’s one very simple way of cooking them. I’ve gone with a classic Croatian recipe that I’ve adapted to my own tastes by adding speck, chilli, paprika and celery leaves; eliminating the tomato that often finds it way into the recipe.
When buying mussels make sure you get ones that are still alive, with their shells tightly closed. If you see some that are still open just give them a tap. If they slowly close they’re alive and still ok; if not, they’re dead and only good for the bin.
Heat a large and deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, garlic and speck and cook until lightly golden. Add the paprika, chilli and stir to combine. Add the breadcrumbs and stir quickly before tossing in the cleaned mussels followed by the white wine and chopped celery leaves.
Put a lid on the saucepan and shake it vigorously for a few seconds to coat the mussels in the sauce. Shake the saucepan frequently for a few minutes. The mussels will be done when they’ve all opened. Discard any that are still closed.
Tumble onto a platter and serve with crusty bread and loads of good white wine.