For a perfect pairing, executive chef at Eight restaurant in Stellenbosch Lorian "Lolly" Heyns recommends pairing creamy West Coast mussels with white wine, leeks, lemon and cream with a chilled glass of Chenin Blanc.
West Coast mussels with white wine, leeks, lemon and cream
Serve hot with crusty bread to mop up the sauce.
(Serves four to six. Prep and cooking time: 30min.)
30ml olive oil
One small bunch leeks, finely chopped (white parts only)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Half a bottle white wine (Chenin Blanc works well)
1.5 – 2kg cleaned fresh black mussels
125ml fresh cream
Rind of a lemon, finely grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh herbs, to serve (parsley and dill work well)
Rinse the mussels under cold tap water to clean them. Scrub the outsides if they are a little hairy, then pull off the grassy “beard” from the pointy side to the round side.
They are now ready for the pot. Remember, any mussels that won’t close before cooking must be discarded. And any mussels that won’t open after cooking, can also be tossed.
In a wide heavy-based pot or casserole, heat the oil and butter over medium heat.
Fry the leeks and garlic until soft and translucent, but not too brown.
Add the wine, turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
Add the mussels all at once and cover with a lid.
Bring to a boil again and steam for five to eight minutes until they are open and just-cooked.
Add the cream and heat through, then take off the heat and add the lemon rind.
Season to taste with salt and pepper (some mussels can be very salty already, so be careful).
Serve scattered with chopped herbs and a glass of Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc.