Missing Hermanus ?


Mussel pot on the fire, toasted bread to mop up the sauce and a glass of Kat met die Houtbeen is what all good doctors prescribe when in Hermanus ... What to do when back in your hometown with family and friends, you’ve bragged to about your mussel dish prowess? And Kat rubbing herself up against your leg with that I feel like mussel sauce meow? No problem. Hotfoot to your nearest Food Lovers Market, they always stock fresh mussels. While out, pick up a few stray bottles of Kat to make sure you don’t disappoint ... Smile Mêrim Smile!

You’ll need:

  • 2 kgs fresh black mussels
  • 1 large pinch of saffron (about 40 strains)
  • 1.5 cups Kat met die Houtbeen
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 medium sized shallots, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 large garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes (about 2.5 cups)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

How to?

1. Holding mussels under cool running water, scrub with a stiff sponge or vegetable brush, then debeard: grip the tough fibers extending from the shell and pull to remove. Discard of beards

2. Steep saffron in wine for 10 minutes. (Saffron is soluble in water, not fat, and won’t release its colour or flavour if added directly to the butter

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a shallow stockpot. Once it’s foamy, add shallots, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt

4. Cook until shallots are transparent, and garlic is soft, about 3 minutes, stirring every so often to keep garlic from scorching

5. Pour in wine and saffron, then add tomatoes and return to simmer, stirring once or twice

6. Add mussels and cover tightly. Cook until all mussels open, about 6 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Discard all unopened mussels. If using wild mussels, strain broth through a cheesecloth-lined sieve to remove any sand, if necessary. Taste the broth and season with salt and pepper

7. Sprinkle with parsley before ladling mussels and broth into bowls.