SHOW ME YOUR MUSSELS!

Foraging for the various food sources along the tidal area of the ocean can not only be very rewarding but also a proper culinary experience.

FORAGING...

I love the bounties our planet has on offer, and if used responsibly they will be around for eternity. And the best part is that your food is organically sourced, not farmed and fed all kinds of hormones, antibiotics or environmentally damaging foods. Having so much to choose from makes foraging an exciting adventure. Mussels, crayfish, octopus, cockles and oysters, to name but a few are present along the tidal zone of the south African coastline.

Let’s start with the most abundant resource, the humble black mussel – a world renowned as a culinary treat. If you google mussel recipes you will find thousands. I am going to share my favourite pickled mussel recipe with you.

You can collect mussels from rocky outcrops along the coast. First and most important you’ll have to be in possession of a valid mussel permit. This you can get from your nearest post office. The permit allows you to have 30 mussels in your possession at any one time. Next, you will need a tool to remove the mussels from the rocks. I find a garden weeding tool to be the most environmentally friendly as you can pick single mussels with it. Gloves and a mussel bag are also required. When selecting a mussel bed to forage from, pick one with less sand around it. Mussels collected in sandy areas can be difficult to clean, therefore, unpleasant to eat. Once you’ve collected your 30 mussels, clean the shells in a rock pool. Use your tool to scrape off any crustaceans attached to the mussel shell. This makes for easier work once in your kitchen.

COOKING...

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Half a red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 red chili de-seeded and chopped (optional)
  • Ground Himalayan rock salt (to taste)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper (to taste)

Instructions

Place your mussels in a large pot and cover with water, add salt. Bring to the boil. As soon as the water starts to boil, you will notice the mussels will start to open. As soon as they open, drain and run under cold water. Discard any mussels that did not open.

Remove the flesh from the shells. You will notice the mussel meat has a hairy protrusion called the beard. Gently pull this out of the meat. Collect all the mussel meat in a colander and rinse under running water.

Choose a suitably sized bowl and add all your ingredients, pop in the fridge and allow to chill. You can enjoy these pickled mussels with cheese, biscuits, paté and any other finger foods.

Bon Appetit!

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