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Recipe for :

Mussels à la Portuguese

This recipes comes from Dancer and Graphic artist Martin James. Martin, who originally comes from New Zealand, is now living with his wife and children in Copenhagen as he is currently principal Dancer with The Royal Danish Ballet. You will be able to find out more about Martin when his Biography page is published.

Being so gifted it seems unfair that Martin should also be talented in the kitchen as well but he has agreed to share some of his recipes with us which is great news.


1 to 1. 5 kg (2 - 3 1b) mussels
4 shallots, chopped finely
1 clover garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons butter
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup water
3 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
2 fresh thyme sprigs or pinch dried thyme
1 or 2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
125 ml (4 oz) fresh cream
extra chopped parsley
lemon quarters


  • Wash mussels under running water, and remove all traces of mud, seaweed and barnacles with a brush or knife; remove beards (the rough, furry part around the mussel). If mussel shells are cracked or broken, discard them. If any mussels are slightly open, tap sharply, and if they do not close, discard.
  • Gently fry shallots and garlic in olive oil and butter until transparent but not coloured.
  • Add wine, water, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, pepper and mussels.
  • Pour cream over the top.
  • Cover pan, bring to the boil and steam over a high heat for about 4 minutes, shaking pan constantly. The shells will open as the mussels cook.
  • Serve as soon as the shells open.
  • Serve in deep bowls like mixing bowls, garnished with chopped parsley and lemon quarters. Mmmm . . . delicious.

Don't forget a large spoon to scoop up the juice.

Serves 2 to 3

Martin James