Help with Mussels..
Hey gang, i'm heading to New Zealand in 2 days for 2 weeks and i really want to try to 'go native'...and green lipped mussels are about as native as it gets. I know many of you on here love mussels and i've tried to like them but...maybe it's a texture thing...they just don't speak to me. Is there a specific prep or sauce or something that might make them seem less,,, well... rubbery? Or was that just a poor prep i had?? I am looking for some expert insight so i'll choose wisely and perhaps develop a taste for them down under. I figure anything is better w/ a good Pinot Noir but would appreciate some guidance! thanks!
The green lipped NZ mussels we get here are all cooked and then frozen, and I agree, they can be pretty tough. If you got them fresh, they might be a very different beast indeed. The key with our Maine/Canadian mussels is to not overcook them.
I've only recently learned to love mussels, and I'm not sure if it is the result of moving to Australia from the US. They are fresher, more local, and more available in this part of the world than in the US, and I find that most restaurants handle them pretty well. They shouldn't be rubbery if they aren't cooked too long. I prefer the traditional and basic moules marinières preparation. I can't speak specifically for NZ, and the green lipped variety, but thrown in a pot with some shallots and a glug of Marlborough sauv blanc, you really can't go wrong.
They go rubbery when overcooked. Mussels only need a few minutes to cook well. Depending on where you are going in NZ I would try and get some in the Marlborough Sounds where they are farmed and every family has a mussel fritter recipe. They are perfect with a chardonnay, lightly oaked, The Babich Irongate or a Moana Park.
Light Pinot Noirs are also great with mussels. Get in touch with our boss here and she might cook you mussels - she's done it for other visitors :)
re: The Big Foody
i wanted to thank you for all your NZ advice from a couple posts i made before we traveled. We did indeed eat at Dine and had a lovely 20 min or so chat with Peter Gordon himself, fresh in from London. In Wellington we ate at White House which was good but not earth shattering. Curator's House in Christchurch was really good. Excellent meal at a new Italian place in Queenstown whose name just escaped me. But the best meal of the trip? The Mission Estate Winery in Hawke's Bay, a wonderful grouper w/ fresh veggies and wine pairings. It was a fabulous trip despite really CRUMMY golf weather... guess we'll just have to return!