Friday 9 March 2007

mussels w spinach, leeks & blue cheese

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.




  1. Hey sis, glad to see the fabulous mussels you cooked are finally on your blog! They were so very good..
    Just been checking out your PORK'Y' blog week too - such tasty things there.
    Hope your enjoying your lazy (food filled) days with your husband ;) and cant wait to hear about Rockpool! luv u luv porky :)

  2. Oh me too, I can eat this dish in any season! I love mussels, and actually any shellfish!

  3. I just discovered your blog because you're hosting the weekend herb blogging. Oh my God! This dish looks so good, I am absolutely going to do this! I love every ingredient - yes, even blue cheese, though I never would have thought to pair it with mussels. Thank you for adding to my repertoire!

    (And I love the photo of you. Very well done!)

  4. My goodness, Anna! That looks so wonderful! I saw mussels at the store a few days ago and was thinking of buying some. Now I must! And make your recipe.

  5. Anna - I wanted you to know that I tried this recipe last nite. It was fabulous!!! Ever since I saw this post, I craved mussels. This is so simple to make and so incredibly delicious - Thanks for sharing!

  6. I often wish I lived in your part of the world. Those green lipped mussels are so much prettier and look so much more big and juicy than the ones you get fresh over here.

    I would never have thought of putting blue cheese with mussels but I can see how it would be delicious. I've made a mental note to try this the next time I get some.

  7. I love mussels, but I only get them in restaurants here. The idea of mussels with blue cheese sounds like a great combination to me. Nicely done!

  8. I love mussels, but we have only the tiny black ones here. Usually I just heat olive oil and put them in to open. I have to try with blue cheese, sounds delicious. :)

  9. good recipe but try changing the onion for a leek and the white wine for seafood stock and a little dark beer
    also oil instead of butter

    if you like celery at the start

    also I did not cover it

    sorry lots of also but I made it like above and it was a huge hit

    it steps it up big time

  10. can't wait to try this on the weekend! thanks for sharing. Are those green-lipped mussels?


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