Seafood has a reputation of being luxurious but you’d be surprised how inexpensive a helping of super fresh first-rate mussels actually is. I paid less than £2 for mussels for two – and that’s live mussels from the fishmonger. A super cheap fast food, mussels are actually the perfect student food. Drench them in garlic and chili and have them with heaps of spaghetti – it’s the best meal you’ve ever had.
Of course you need a drop of white wine to make that sauce and then you can hardly call it a budget dish. But what a wonderful excuse to buy a bottle of wine on a weekday. In fact, why not make every Wednesday a vongole day?
500 g live mussels
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 red chili, seeds discarded, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
100 ml dry white wine
300 g spaghetti, dried
1. Set a pan of salted water to boil. Meanwhile inspect the live mussels: they should be tightly closed. If any of them are open give them a sharp tap to get a reaction. If they don’t close throw them away. Then rinse the remaining mussels, the good ones.
2. About 5 minutes before the pasta is cooked heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the garlic and chili for a few minutes until they’re starting to take colour. Then throw in the mussels and the white wine and put the lid on, steaming the mussels for 2-3 minutes.
3. Drain the pasta and toss it with the mussels, adding lemon zest and parsley to the mix. Serve and go to seafood heaven.