I love New Zealand seafood, there’s just no other way to say it. I grew up on the water, mostly around Northland and watched my father countless times boil the tin for fresh crayfish or prepare the smoke house for today’s catch. Earlier this year I created some dishes for Aquaculture NZ and of the ten this is the one I dream about the most. It’s so vibrant and tasty that it’s a tragedy when it’s all gone! It’s also a very economic family meal, give it a try you won’t regret it.
20 fresh mussels
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, final chopped
2 bay leaves
1 cup of chicken stock
Juice of one lemon
2 390g cans of cannellini beans
6 tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons of olive oil
10 rasher of streaky bacon, chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
1/2 cup of parsley chopped
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Place the tomatoes in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 mins or until the tomatoes are a lovely rich red and starting to darken on the edges.
While the tomatoes are cooking scrub and de-beard the mussels. Then heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large frypan and cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside. Tip any excess bacon fat out of the pan, leaving about one tablespoon in the pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently until the onion is soft – about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, lemon juice and bay leaves. Bring to the boil.
Add the mussels and place the lid on the pan. Leave for about 3 minutes and check to see if the shells have opened, if not they may need another minute. Remove the mussels and set aside discarding any unopened ones.
Add the cannelloni beans to the pan and the bacon and tomatoes, heat through for a few minutes over a medium temperature. Remove half the mussels from their shells and stir into the sauce. Remove from the heat.
Ladle the sauce into bowls, add some mussels in their shells, scatter over the spring onion, parsley, parmesans and salt and pepper.
Serve with lemon cheeks and fried or grilled ciabatta.