Half shell mussels with tomato and onion dressing
( SERVES 4 )
Please the eye and the palate with an attractive arrangement of ingredients and a harmony of flavours. In this recipe, which could be part of a selection of tapas, a summer lunch or just something to enjoy while the barbecue gets under way, half the shell of each mussel is removed after cooking so that the remaining shells serve as saucers to hold the mussels and a colourful shiny dressing.
- Scrub the mussels in plenty of cold water, discarding any that don't close, and scrape off any barnacles.
- Remove the beards by pulling them towards the rounded end of the shells.
- Put the mussels in a wide pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the white wine.
- Cover the pan with the lid and put over a high heat for 2 minutes.
- Lift the lid and use tongs to lift out each mussel as it opens. Pile the mussels on a platter.
- While the mussels cool a little, make the dressing. Whisk together in a bowl the garlic, vinegar, olive oil and a strained splash of the mussel cooking liquid.
- Stir in the prepared tomatoes and onion. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
- One at a time break off and discard the empty shell halves and place the full ones on a platter.
- Spoon the dressing over the mussels and serve immediately at room temperature or set aside for 30 minutes until cold.
- Serve with lemon wedges and bread to mop up the juices.