Starting with left overs

There are some kitchen jobs that define the notion of boredom and make little or no difference to the outcome: halving and deseeding grapes, taking the pips out of tomatoes or cucumbers. Some mind numbing tasks however have a real impact or are essential: double shelling big broad beans springs to mind. And shucking the left over mussels …
They had to be done before bed last night and the box had a lot more in than I had anticipated meaning that they deserved something more than left over status. So although ‘starters’ aren’t usually on the menu in the week, that’s what they became. A heafty slosh of lime juice in some Hellman’s made a good mayo and all there was to do was make a pile of leaves, mussels and mayo.
The surprise was how good it was. I’d have never have thought of cooking fresh mussels for this sort of thing – even for a posh nosh night with guests. How wrong can you be? They were incomparably better than anything from the fishmonger, fresher, juicier and with a much more subtle taste than bought pre-cooked. So next time I do a starter like this, fresh it has to be, in spite of all that shelling……
To follow in this fishiest of weeks: a couple of large trout simply grilled, on a plate with fresh steamed spinach and some sauteed brown mushrooms. Too much already?

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