This weekend saw some cockles and mussels, put to good use. They were handpicked from my secret spot.
It was a beautiful day for a cycle ride to the sea. So off I went 3o miles later, I am home with my bounty.
The Moules marinières were far too salty, I know not why. I added no salt. Anyone who can shed light on this, please do. My Mussel Pilau was a huge success. My Spanish cockle soup was also good. So that’s seven meals in total with free shellfish.
Mussels keep for some time out of the water. Some need purging, some don’t. I scrape the barnacles off the wild ones. The farmed ones go through a U.V. light so I guess there pretty safe. I scrub the mussels and cockles thoroughly.
Cockles are more temperamental. They need purging for sure, not just over night. They are full of sand/mud. Two nights and two days should do it. Cockles love oxygen. So change the water every eight hours, more if you have time. The water from a fast tap makes lots of oxygen. You can speed up the purging process with a scant sprinkle of polenta or (real) oatmeal.
Beaches are great places to find free food. Avoid still water and heavily populated areas. Use common sense. If you don’t see mussels, look for other things. Remember how healthy and tasty this can be. Use a good guide. ‘River Cottage Edible Seashore’ is good. You may find it or something similar in your library. The internet is full of pictures and help.
Some things taste awful; don’t let this put you off. Alexander stems, spring to mind.