Nigel Slater’s recipe for mussels with pak choi and chilli
Clean and check 1kg of mussels. Roughly chop 6 thin spring onions. Warm 3 tbsp of groundnut oil in a large, deep pan then add the spring onions. Cook the onions for a couple of minutes, letting them soften but not colour.
Stir 1 heaped tbsp of chilli paste (I use Korean gochujang) into the onions, fry briefly then add the mussels and 100ml of water, and cover tightly with a lid.
Finely shred and wash 100g of pak choi – the greens with leaves shaped like Chinese soup spoons. When the mussels have been cooking for 3 minutes and are starting to open, add the pak choi and a handful of coriander leaves. Toss the mussels, greens and juices together, cook for a minute or two, then transfer to bowls. For 2.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you to check the mussels thoroughly, tapping each one on the side of the sink and discarding any whose shells fail to shut, but I will. It is essential to pick out any that have cracked shells, too. Mussels need only a very few minutes to cook (there is no joy in an overcooked mussel) so I remove them from the heat as soon as the shells start to open. A good shake as they steam will ensure more even cooking. They will continue to cook in the residual heat so I serve them as quickly as possible.
Use any fresh greens here. Try shredded cabbage or coarse-leaved spinach (not the diminutive, soft salad leaves). Alternatively, drop the greens and spoon the hot mussels over rice instead, their fiery gochujang juices trickling through the grains.