Mussels with Pasta and Tomatoes

These marvelous moules are a jot to make and a delight to eat. By the time it takes to cook pasta, supper is sorted. Place the pan in the middle of the table and serve this family style in large bowls.

Mussels with Pasta and Tomatoes

2 lbs. mussels
8 oz. short, stubby pasta such as macaroni or ditalini
2 tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatos, cut across the equator
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. chili flakes
80ml red vermouth
4 tbs. chopped fresh parsely

Clean the beards from the mussels and rub off any debris from their shells. Soak in cold water for 20 minutes, then discard any that are still open.

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large, wide pan that has a lid. Tumble in the tomatoes and cook until softened over a medium heat, 2-3 minutes. Tip in the garlic, chili flakes and salt. Stir often until the tomatoes start to melt down and make a juice, 3-4 minutes. Pour in the vermouth and let it bubble up.

Add the mussels to the pan and cover. Cook, shaking the pan a few times, for 3-4 minutes, or until the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that have stayed closed. Add the pasta, cover and leave for a minute or two off the heat. Uncover, stir in most of the parsley and serve with the remaining parsley sprinkled on top.

Serves 4

Tequila and Lime Chicken

This lovely little chicken dish is packed with citrus flavor and can be roasted in the oven or cooked out on the grill. As with anything marinated, the longer the marinating time, the better!

1 medium chicken, cut into 8 pieces
5 tbs. tequila blanco
zest and juice of 2 limes
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tbs. regular olive oil
extra lime wedges and cilantro, to serve

Put the chicken pieces in a resealable bag or large bowl. Mix together the tequila, lime zest and juice, red pepper flakes, salt and oil. Add to the bag or bowl and squelch everything together. Chill for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. (If you are really short on time, marinate at room temperature for 40 minutes.)

When you are ready to cook, take the chicken out of the fridge and leave for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange the chicken in a single layer in a roasting tin. Pour over half the marinade and cook for 25 minutes. Pour over the remaining marinade and cook a further 25 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Add a little boiling water to the roasting tin to deglaze the pan. Pour this over the chicken and serve with extra lime wedges and cilantro.

Alternatively, cook the chicken for 20 minutes on a medium-hot grill. Basting with the marinade and turning often.

Serves 4, generously

Buttermilk Roast Chicken

Paired with New Orleans Cole Slaw, this is THE PERFECT picnic!

12 chicken drumsticks and/or bone-in, skin-on thighs
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, skins removed and bruised
1 tbs. crushed peppercorns
1 tbs. kosher salt
1 ts. maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cumin

Place the chicken in a large freezer bag and add the remaining ingredients except for the 2 tbs. of oil. Squish it all together and marinade for at least 30 minutes. However, chilled overnight is better.

Heat the oven to 425°F. Shake the marinade off the chicken and place in a foil-lined roasting tin. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and cooked through. Alternatively, you can BBQ them over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes per side.

Serves 6

 

New Orleans Cole Slaw

This is the accompaniment of choice for Buttermilk Roasted Chicken.

1 head white or savoy cabbage, about 2 lbs. before trimmed
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 cup good quality mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbs. maple syrup
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup toasted and chopped pecans

Trim and shred the baggage. Place in a large bowl and add the carrots, scallions and celery. Whisk together the mayonnaise, maple syrup and vinegar. Toss with the cabbage mixture and season. Toss in the pecans to serve.

Serves 6