18 February 2009

Nose To Tail Eating

Fergus Henderson opened St. John’s Restaurant in London with a simple philosophy, eat the entire animal: ears, tongue, tail as we say in the South, everything but the squeal. He called his simple philosophy, Nose to Tail eating, so it was only fitting that the phrase became the title of his cookbook. The cookbook, found mostly in Henderson’s Restaurant, quickly sold out and became a holy grail for anyone fond of offal. Luckily it was soon reprinted.

Several years ago, I went to St. John’s for my birthday. I had hoped for the Lamb’s Tongue and Turnips with Bacon, but it wasn’t on the menu. Too bad. Still, the rest of the dinner was amazing from the Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad to the Eccels Cake for dessert,

I picked a rather simple, offal-less recipe from Nose To Tail Eating for mussels. I chose it because it a wonderfully simple way to cook mussels and a great addition to any family barbecue.

Grilled Mussels On A Barbecue

4 kg mussels, cleaned
2 healthy handfuls of curly parsley, finely chopped
2 healthy handfuls of picked celery leaves, finely chopped


Juice of two lemons
4 cloves of garlic, finely crushed
1teaspoon young soft thyme leaves, chopped
400 ml extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper

Get your barbecue to that perfect glowing moment (preferably using wood with a good history, as I am sure this helps the flavour) and simply throw your mussels on the griddle. The joy of this is they now simply cook in their own juices.

As soon as they open, scoop them up into an appropriate bowl, add the dressing, parsley and celery leaves and toss thoroughly. Eat while hot.

What a great way to start or even end a barbecue. By the way, no one loves cooking gadget more than me, but lately I've been seeing a lot of contraptions to set on a grill to individually hold your mollusks. Seriously, we eat way more than any little rack can handle so please, try to refrain from this purchase. You'll thank me later.

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