Mussel and Quail Egg Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 kg (6 lbs) mussels, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 100 mls (4 oz) dry cider
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • a few parsley stalks or celery tops
  • 4 leeks, split, rinsed and cut into julienne strips
  • 2-3 teaspoons grain mustard
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 4 Savoy cabbage leaves, rinsed, ribs removed, and shredded
  • 5 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 6 quail eggs

Method

Tug the byssus, or beard, from the mussels and discard any that remain open. Put the mussels in a lidded saucepan, with the cider, shallot and parsley or celery for flavouring. Put the lid on and cook until the mussels open. This takes only a few minutes.

Strain the liquid through a very fine sieve and put to one side. Tip the mussels into a colander and shell them when cool enough to handle. Mix 2 tablespoons cooking liquor with one of walnut oil, and stir into the mussels to keep them moist. Boil down the rest of the cooking juices to 2-3 tablespoons. Mix with the rest of the walnut oil, the mustard, seasoning and cider vinegar.

Steam or stir-fry the greens, and spoon onto plates. Arrange the mussels on top. Heat a well-greased or non stick frying pan, and in it fry the quail eggs, having first carefully cracked them and put them into a saucer or other shallow container, to transfer them to the frying pan. Top each salad with a lightly fried egg and spoon the dressing over the top. Alternatively you can poach or boil the quail eggs.