Beautifully simple, reassuringly rustic and moreish to boot. Here’s my recipe for open-baked mussels that my children can’t get enough of. It’s a reasonably cheap dish that’s definitely crowd-pleasing comfort food, and yet I believe it to be equally worthy of any dinner party.
- 1kg mussels
- Hunk of sourdough (to make breadcrumbs)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Bunch of parsley
- 1 tomato, deseeded and diced (concasse)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 70g ham, chopped
- 2 banana shallots, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 125ml white wine (or water)
- Clean and sort through your mussels, removing beards and discarding any open (dead) ones.
- Pop the mussels in a pot with a sprinkling of shallot, parsley stalks and the white wine (or water). Cover with a lid and steam the mussels for 4 minutes.
- Discard any mussels that didn’t open during cooking.
- Remove half of each mussel shell and lay the full halves out on a baking sheet.
- Blitz the sourdough bread in a food processor to make a crumb. mix in the rest of the finely diced shallot, crushed garlic, chopped parsley leaves, ham, lemon zest and diced tomato. Add a good glug of olive oil and spoon the mix over the mussels.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve with french fries and mayonnaise for a glorious experience.
I adore Gratin Dauphinoise for the luxurious, comforting satisfaction it brings to the table, but sometimes, just sometimes, the calorific creaminess of this French potato dish is too much.
Step forward Boulangère.
Named after the baker’s oven in which it would have traditionally been cooked, this is an absolute classic which transports me to France at the first taste.
(30cm x 20cm x 5cm ovenproof dish)
- 1.5kg potatoes
- 2 onions
- 2 bay leaves
- Thyme leaves
- 400ml vegetable or chicken stock
- salt & pepper
- 25g butter
- 25g parmesan
The size of your ovenproof dish is quite important, much like when making a lasagna.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
- Slice your potatoes as thinly as possible using a mandolin or food processor.
- Finely slice the onions.
- Place a layer of potato slices in the dish, top with a layer of onions and season.
- Repeat the layers in order, placing a bay leaf in the middle layer.
- Finish with a nice even layer of potatoes and pour over the stock.
- Season, sprinkle with thyme leaves and place a bay leaf on top.
- Dust with parmesan cheese.
- Dot with butter.
- Bake for around 1 hour until the potatoes are cooked through and the top is beautifully golden.
As Jamie launches his ‘10 recipes to save your life’ for this year’s Food Revolution, here’s my twist on the basic omelette for you: Baked Mini Omelettes!
Super-simple fayre, these little treats are a fun take on the humble and nutritious egg, and can be served hot or cold.
The fillings are up to you – I like to have a bit of variation so here’s some ideas:
Fresh chives, chillies, bell peppers, ham, tomato, cheese, smoked salmon; perhaps some pre-cooked ingredients: bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, sausage, broccoli.. the list goes on, so feel free to experiment.
The most important factor is to use the freshest and highest quality eggs you can find – the hens deserve it, and it’ll make such a difference to your cooking.
You’ll need roughly 1 egg for each omelette.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C degrees (160°C fan).
Grease a muffin/cupcake tray with butter or a drop of oil.
Beat the eggs and season them with salt and pepper.
Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tray and sprinkle in your choice of ingredients.
Bake for 12 minutes.
It’s as easy as that.
Having tried a few incarnations of Baked Eggs over the years, I’ve settled on this method as my favourite (for now at least..). I like to use the enamel coated metal dishes rather than ceramic pots so it’s not HOTTER THAN THE SUN for a good twenty minutes after serving.
- 1 Leek, sliced
- 6 mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small garlic clove, finely sliced
- 50ml Crème Fraîche
- Baby Spinach
- 50g Gruyère Cheese, grated
- 4 Eggs
- Breadcrumbs or slightly stale bread
- Olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
Fry the leeks, mushrooms and garlic in a little oil (feel free to add in a knob of butter too).
Cover the base of 2 dishes with a thin layer of crème fraîche and top with the leek and mushroom mix.
Grate or sprinkle over a tiny amount of nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
Top with a layer of grated cheese – Gruyère brings a lovely flavour to the dish but a good Cheddar works equally well.
Cover the cheese with a layer of baby spinach leaves and crack two eggs into each dish.
Dot the eggs with crème fraîche, season again and then cover with a layer of breadcrumbs. I like to use slightly stale Sourdough and blitz it in the food processor. Don’t forget that you can always make batches of breadcrumbs from leftover bread and then freeze it in bags – it will defrost in no time.
Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes – the top will be golden and crispy while the egg yolks will be beautifully runny. You know what to do if you’d prefer them hard.
This is an entire meal in one dish and make a fabulous lunch.