We’re very lucky that the coquillage (shellfish) van comes to the village twice a week bringing sustainably produced and delicious shellfish from Bouzigues on the Etang de Thau, a salt-water lagoon only 30 or so kilometres from here. One of our favourite ways of eating mussels is to cook them on the barbecue in a big open pan – we use a paella pan or a Spanish sartén honda, both of which are available very cheaply in a local discount store.
Today I lightly sautéed a couple of sliced garlic cloves, some sprigs of savoury and rosemary, some lardons fumés (smoked bacon pieces) and a chopped dried Espelette pepper in olive oil over the flames and then left them to infuse while we cooked some whole Spanish sweet onions which I’d just pulled out of the ground. When the onions were done and while we were eating them as a first course, the mussels were left to open and cook over the fire.
When the mussels are cooked we just put the pan in the middle of the table for people to share, with a sprinkling of chopped fresh garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice and some crusty bread. And a glass or two of rosé wine from the Domaine des Pascales in the village. The sun even came out for an hour or so while we were eating!
Spring flowers and leaves
The white cistus is now in flower and one of its flowers had a yellow butterfly on it. The mangetout peas are flowering too – such beautiful petals, as lovely as sweet peas but with the advantage of pods to eat later. Vines have insignificant flowers so this is one plant where the leaves are more impressive, especially when the sun casts shadows of one leaf upon another.
Planting out the peppers
We did some work too, and planted out most of our pepper plants. There are a few more to do tomorrow and some which we want to grow in pots outside the house.
>It's so cold here at the moment it's lovely to see your photos which look so summery, I love mussels but have never had them this way so thanks for the tip. I love the picture of the vine leaf…I don't know how your weather is down there at the moment but the photos certainly make it look very warm and inviting!
>Mmm that all looks sooo tasty!
>Those onions look far more like english spring onions than the ones we have here. Our sweet onions are round… must be a different variety… I think we'd have to halve ours for the bbq.
>ninasgardeningnotebook: the weather isn't as warm as it should be in May, but at least when the sun comes out it feels warm.Jan: the onions are much bigger and sweeter than spring onions. I think they may be like the calçots you have in Catalunya. Our neighbour bought the plants for us at the Spanish border.
>Looks nourishing for soul and body.
>I am cooking local moules here tonight too, C-L, fresh from the Southern Ocean. Haven't decided if I will go for the Asian style, with limes and coconut milk or the Italian, with white wine, garlic and tomatoes.
>When will I learn not to read you blog before lunch? I've got some left-over pizza from Saturday night to look forward to. Yuck.