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Max Rocha serves stuffed mussels reminiscent of his childhood holidays in the west of Ireland

Max Rocha

As a child, I used to go away on trips to the west of Ireland. I vaguely remember ordering this dish, and I now find great comfort in it. Mussels are full of flavour and extremely good value, but when buying them look for tightly closed, unbroken shells. Make sure to rinse them a few times before cooking and remove the hair-like beard if it’s attached, too.

As restaurants are currently quieter, independent fish wholesalers are offering home deliveries, so I would suggest seeking them out during these turbulent times.

Ingredients (serves 2)

Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
700g fresh mussels
Half a bunch of parsley, including stalks
200ml white wine
Half a loaf of stale bread, around 300g (crusts cut off)
Zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper

Stuffed mussels

1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottom pan and add one clove of garlic. Once the garlic begins to sizzle add in the mussels, parsley stalks and white wine, then put the lid on to steam. Once the mussels are all open, they are fully cooked. Discard any unopened mussels and set the pan aside.

2. Blitz the bread in a food processor with the remaining two cloves of garlic, the lemon zest, parsley and a nice pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Turn on the grill to full heat, then discard the empty side of each shell and leave the meaty side attached. Lay out the mussels on a baking tray, fill each one with the bread crumb mix, and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to each.

4. Place the stuffed mussels under the hot grill until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

5. Serve them straight away with a little more lemon, then close your eyes and take in the smell of the west of Ireland.