This is a wonderful treat. It can be eaten winter or summer and has one of the most delicious flavours you can imagine – and I don’t even dig blue cheese or mussels very much!
I developed the recipe myself, but the inspiration goes to the Heritage Belgian Beer Café in Sydney where I ate this dish for the very first time.
I think my replication turned out pretty spot on. Maybe it was even a little bit better . . .
Mussels w Spinach, Leeks & Blue Cheese
Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 2 as a main course.
1 kg mussels
300g baby spinach
1 cup chopped blue cheese
2 leeks, finely chopped
1 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons butter
Juice of a lemon
1. Scrub mussels carefully and remove their beards (rough threads around the mouths).
2. Place mussels in a large bowl of water for 1 hour to cleanse them of any debris.
3. Melt butter in a pan over low medium-low heat. Add leeks and cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
4. Add garlic and soften for 1 minute.
5. Add white wine, lemon juice and blue cheese. Bring to a simmer.
6. Add mussels and spinach. Cover pot with lid and cook for 5 minutes until mussels open and spinach wilts. Be sure to rattle the pot a little to move the mussels around.
7. Discard any unopened mussels and ladled into bowls with cooking liquor. Serve with crusty bread and a blond Belgian beer.
Spinach is a wonderful little plant, yielding beautiful green leaves that burst with flavour. We all know Popeye adored the iron boost he got from spinach, but it’s interesting to know that spinach is one of the most nutritionally dense greens. It contains large amounts (in order of greatness) of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, dietary fibre, vitamin B1, protein, phosphorous, zinc, vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids. Whoa – what a list!
The spectacular vitamins and nutrients contained in spinach are excellent protection against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, eye disease, decreasing mental performance in the aged and high blood pressure.
In fact spinach is said to have such an amazing effect on blood pressure that a regular size serving of fresh or steamed spinach as part of a meal can show positive effects about three hours later.
It is said that spinach was first domesticated in Persia (Iran) and the English word is derived from the Persian esfenaj اسفناج. The king of Nepal sent a gift of spinach to China in the 600s, where spinach was then known as 'the herb of Persia'.
Spinach only arrived in Europe, via the Moorish invasion of Spain, in the 1100s. It was spread through monastic gardens and by the late 1300s it was used in the English royal court kitchen.
In the 1500s, Catherine de Medici introduced unique spinach recipes to France from her native Florence. This is believed to be the reason why spinach based dishes often include Florentine in the name.
Today the largest commercial producers of spinach are the US and the Netherlands, but I’m sure the world eats it with equal gusto. Especially those Popeyes out there.
This week the Weekend Herb Blogging host is me! So stay tuned to this site for the WHB round-up.
Tags: morsels and musings food blog food and drink australia recipes weekend herb blogging whb main stew musselsblue cheese white wine leeks spinach belgian recipes belgian food belgian cuisine belgian belgium