Mussels in Sea Lettuce Cream Sauce

Mussels in sea lettuce cream sauce is a seafood delicacy with a twist. Black mussels are often prepared in white wine or tomato based sauces which I certainly enjoy from time to time. However

I really love cream sauces which I prepare for us frequently. Seaweed and other sea vegetables like sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) are really popular in Asia especially Japan. These sea vegetables are very healthy and are attributed to increasing longevity, almost cover the whole range of vitamins like "Vitamins A, E, C, K, B1, B2, B12". It further promotes bone health and is a great source of iron and protein. It is often available in health shops and asian supermarkets. Luckily for us we are living just 15 minutes away from the Cape coastline and can collect our mussels and sea lettuce fresh from the sea :-). 



Preparation time: 15 minutes 
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Cooking time: 30 minutes
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Resting time: 0 minutes
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Total time needed: 45 minutes
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Grade of Difficulty: standard


Ingredients
for
Mussels in Sea Lettuce Cream Sauce

  • 3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 fresh uncooked black mussels, cleaned, (optional - use pre cooked mussels if you can't get fresh ones)
  • 50 gram / 1.75 oz fresh sea lettuce, washed and chopped roughly, (optional - use fresh spinach instead if you can't get hold of sea lettuce
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 1/4 cup of full cream milk
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed, (use more or less to suit your taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh fennel leaves, chopped roughly 
  • 1 tbs. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. paprika powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste



Directions

  • In a large pot bring 3 liter of salted water to a rapid boil
  • Add mussels, cover with lid, once the water is boiling again, reduce the heat and boil mussels gently for 10 minutes (optional - if you are using pre cooked mussels you can skip this step - frozen mussels should be defrosted before use to get rid of excess water) 
  • Remove pot from heat and remove mussels with a slotted spoon and place on a plate to let them cool down a little
  • Add olive oil to a large pan, turn stove to medium heat, add onion and garlic, cover with lid and saute them for 5 minutes, stirring them regularly
  • While the onions are in the pan, half the mussel shells and discard the empty ones (discard any mussels that didn't open during the boiling process)
  • Once the onions have changed color add the milk, cream bay leaf, salt, pepper, paprika powder, fish sauce and fennel, stir well and let the sauce come to a boil
  • Now add the mussels, cover with lid and gently simmer for 5 minutes
  • Add sea lettuce, gently stir the ingredients, cover with lid and simmer for another 5 minutes

Remove from stove and serve mussels in sea lettuce cream sauce hot with pasta of your choice or freshly baked white bread or rolls / buns.




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