For mussels, every month has an R in it

Grilled pollock with mussels. It’s a pity you can’t smell the heavenly incense of garlic, butter, wine, brandy and parsley wafting from the mussels.
There’s a saying that one should only eat shellfish when there is an R in the month (which basically excludes the summer). Turns out that the saying really only applied to oysters originally, but became a general shellfish adage over time. The saying wasn’t a warning against getting poisoned – it merely reflected the fact that the breeding cycle of oysters means that they don’t taste so good in the summer. So the good news is that eating fresh mussels is something you can do any month of the year – at least in Galway. The dish above, which I cooked at the weekend, features a fillet of grilled pollock (landed in Rossaveal) with a general heaping of Killary Fjord farmed mussels (steamed in wine), and garnished with parsley that I grew myself. Farming mussels just means that the mussels hang from ropes rather than cling to rocksalong the shoreline  – they are perfectly natural otherwise.   The dish (aka my dinner) is  based on a recipe from Rick Stein’s Food Heroes cookbook, published 15 years ago. Rick’s recipe included more of a mix of shellfish and used cod instead of pollock, but to be honest, the key to success is the freshness of the seafood – any combination of fresh fish, white wine and butter is only ever going to have a happy ending !

I buy fresh fish most weekends from Gannets Fishmongers who run a stall in St Nicholas’ Market every Saturday. Well worth a visit but get there before lunchtime – they run out of the good stuff early.