- 2 kg mussels, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger
- 1 large leek
- 1 stick celery
- olive oil
- 2 small knobs butter
- 250 g undyed smoked haddock, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger, skin off and pin-boned
- 6 shots whisky, 25ml each
- 200 ml single cream
- 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley
- extra virgin olive oil, to serve
- 6 hunks sourdough bread, to serve
Quickly wash and debeard all the mussels (pull off any bits that look like wire wool), discarding any that won't close (your fishmonger will do this for you if you ask in advance). Trim, wash, then finely slice the leek and the stick of celery, reserving any of the delicate yellow leaves for sprinkling over later. Put a really wide, deep pot on a medium heat and add a lug of olive oil and a knob of butter, along with the sliced leek and celery. Cook and stir for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened, then flake in the smoked haddock and pour in the whisky – feel free to light it with a match to burn off the alcohol if you want. I think this adds to the flavour, but don't set yourself on fire.
Next, add the mussels and single cream. Stir and shake the pan, put the lid on and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or literally just until the mussels have all popped open – discard any that haven't. Use a slotted spoon to move them to a large serving platter or bowl. Leave the pan of cooking liquor on the heat and let it bubble away until it thickens to a consistency you're happy with. While that's happening, roughly chop the parsley, then add it to the pot and shake it about. Have a quick taste of the sauce, correct the seasoning if it needs it, and pour all over the mussels. Scatter over any celery leaves, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve straight away with fresh or toasted hunks of bread for a beautiful hearty lunch or dinner.