by Michelle Tchea, from My Little SoHo Kitchen
This dish reminds me of my favourite weekend ritual whilst living in Switzerland. Almost every Sunday, I would jump on my bike and ride across the Swiss border into France. The marché, an easy 10 km bike ride away, always left my pockets empty and my backpack full of groceries. My favourite seafood stall had everything I loved: fresh oysters, mountains of smoked salmon and of course, plump juicy mussels.
Olive oil for frying
Garlic 2 cloves, peeled and minced
Onion 1, peeled and diced
Mussels 500 g (1 lb 1 1/2 oz), cleaned
Dijon mustard 1 heaped tsp
Beer 125 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup)
Single (light) cream (optional) 2 Tbsp
Fresh parsley a generous handful, shredded
Heat oil in a heavy saucepan. Stir-fry garlic and onion until they are just collapsing. Add mussels and stir briefly. Add mustard, followed by beer, then put the lid on. Give the pot a jiggle. Allow to boil over medium heat for about 7 minutes, until the shells of the mussels open. Discard those with unopened shells. Stir in cream at this point if using. Toss parsley into the pot and stir. Serve with a crusty baguette to mop up all the aromatic juices.
Note: Mussels should always be cleaned under cold running water, and the whiskers removed before cooking. Give the shells a good brush. I usually soak my mussels in cold water for at least 20 minutes to remove any excess dirt and salt.
Creamy Hummus with Crispy Cauliflower
The hummus gets a smoky makeover with crispy cauliflower, which is baked to impart a roasted flavour to this creamy treat. Enjoy smooth dollops of hummus with warm pita bread. Delicious!
Canned chickpeas 400 g (14 oz), drained
Peanut butter 2 heaped Tbsp
Cumin a pinch
Garlic 2 cloves, peeled and crushed
Lemon juice from 1 to 2 lemons
Olive oil 3 Tbsp
Water as needed
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
Cauliflower 280 g (10 oz), cut into florets
Olive oil a drizzle
Garlic 3 cloves, peeled and minced
Mix of cumin, sumac and garlic powder 1 tsp
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
Parsley a few leaves
Preheat oven to 220 ̊C (425 ̊F). Prepare roasted cauliflower. Mix all ingredients, except parsley, on a baking tray. Bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly toasted. You may need to turn the cauliflower florets once halfway through to make sure they are evenly browned. Stir in parsley. In the meantime, prepare hummus. Place chickpeas, peanut butter, cumin, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor. As it blends, stream olive oil, followed by just enough water to get a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper and scoop onto serving plates. Garnish with roasted cauliflower and serve with warm pita bread.
Michelle Tchea loves discovering new frontiers in luxury travel. As the author of three best-selling books on food and travel, My Little SoHo Kitchen, celebrates her love for NYC. As the founder of PopIntel Group, she is looking forward to the new wave of wellness and luxury travel for foodies.