3 tarragon sprigs, leaves stripped and roughly chopped
small bunch curly parsley, roughly chopped
Mussels are available all year, but at their
best in cold weather. British mussels, in
particular, are farmed in an environmentally
friendly way and will come with a
certificate of traceability. They’ll last for
five days in a bowl under a damp piece
of paper in the salad compartment of the
fridge. Don’t store them in water or keep
them in a plastic bag or they’ll die. It will
cost £2-£3 for 24 large mussels.
Scrub the mussels really well and
remove the beards. Discard
any with damaged shells and those that
don’t shut tight when tapped on the edge
of the sink. Rinse well. Put all the mussels
in a medium saucepan and cover with a
tight-fitting lid. Place over a high heat and
cook for 2 mins, shaking the pan halfway,
until all the shells have steamed open
but the mussels are only just cooked.
Discard any that don’t open. Tip into
a colander and leave to cool.
Tear the bread into rough pieces, put in
a food processor and blend into crumbs.
Rub the walnuts between your hands to
remove some of the papery skins. Add
the walnuts, butter, garlic, lemon juice
and Parmesan to the crumbs. Season with
a good pinch of salt and ground black
pepper. Blitz until all the ingredients begin
to blend. Add the herbs to the stuffing
and blend until combined with the butter.
Heat the grill to its hottest setting. Take
each mussel and carefully prise off one
half of each shell. Drain away any excess
liquid. Place the mussels in their remaining
shells on a small baking tray. Using a
teaspoon and your finger, divide the
stuffing mixture between each mussel
shell, making sure the mussel itself is
fully covered. Place the tray fairly close
to the grill and cook for about 2 mins
until the stuffing is pale golden brown
and the mussels are hot and surrounded
by the melted butter. Transfer the shells
to 2 plates and eat straight away.