Steamed Mussels with Cavolo Nero and Bacon

This time of year mussels aren’t at their best – but how can one do without them? This recipe allows a couple of other big ingredients to have their say alongside the mussels in a really meaningful way, so the very best mussels aren’t necessary. If you’ve got fantastic mussels Moules Mariniere is the appropriate treatment. When are mussels at their best? In autumn and winter when they are fat and sweet.


1kg mussels, washed and debearded

250g bacon lardons

400g cavolo nero, very roughly chopped

1 small bunch of parsley, chopped

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

a glass of white wine

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced


Fry the bacon until crisp in a large, deep stockpot. When the bacon is nearly finished, scatter in the garlic and allow it to brown and crisp just a bit. Remove promptly to a bowl and introduce the shallots, celery and wine. Once these come to the boil, throw in alternating handfuls of mussels, kale, and parsley, cover, and steam until the mussels have opened. At the last, add the garlic and bacon back to the pot and stir through.

Serve with plenty of good bread.


About timwaterman

I am a landscape architect, urbanist, writer, and lecturer based in London.

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