Simply Raymond Blanc episode 6: Raymond Blanc indulges the nation’s senses by transforming classic dishes with herbs and spices fresh from his garden. From moules three ways, to a spicy slow-roasted harissa lamb.
The chef transforms classic dishes with herbs and spices from his garden, including moules three ways and a slow-roasted harissa lamb shoulder with chickpeas.
It’s been a while since the Michelin-starred chef patron of Le Manoir has been on TV but he returns this morning to share what he describes as delicious, unfussy recipes made from easily available ingredients and using basic equipment. So, no cheffy flourishes, sous vide baths or aerators. Although he does have the advantage of being able to utilise Le Manoir’s fabulous kitchen garden instead of relying on the local supermarket.
The chef shares a collection of simple, rustic recipes that can be put together easily, as well as revealing the workings of the world-famous Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons where he is Chef Patron and which provides much of the fruit and vegetables that go into his dishes. In the first episode, he is joined by Angela Hartnett, who will be cooking cep tagliatelle. Other recipes include meringue with blackcurrant coulis and a heritage salad with beetroot straight from Raymond’s gardens.
Simply Raymond Blanc episode 6
Preparing the mussels for these dishes
The secret, as ever, is in the freshness of the mussels. A fresh mussel is shiny, closed and heavy with seawater. All mussels should be tightly closed before you begin to cook, and any mussels that are not should be discarded. The preparation can be done in advance. Wash the mussels in a large bowl and under cold running water. Mussels that float at this stage are not very fresh, so discard them. Remove any barnacles and beards, but don’t scrub the shells, as this can end up colouring the cooking juices. Drain.
Prepare the mussels, as above. Finely dice the onion. Coarsely chop the parsley. Boil the wine in a small pan for 30 seconds. In a large saucepan over a high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, bay leaves and thyme, stir and then pour in the wine. Bring to the boil, add the mussels and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
Cook for 2–3 minutes until the mussels open. Stir in the cream and chopped parsley. Serve with good French bread.
Provençal Breadcrumbs for Moules Provençal
Apart from the topping for these baked mussels, this makes a wonderful herb crust for a lamb rack, or a topping for pasta dishes. Vary the herbs, as you wish, substituting the parsley and thyme in this recipe with rosemary, basil, tarragon or chervil.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
These savoury breadcrumbs can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week or freezer for up to one week. Use straight from the freezer.
100g bread, dried
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
¼ bunch (about 20g) flat leaf parsley
2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
The bread must be completely dry before you grind it, or the moisture combined with the olive oil will make it lumpy.
Place the dried bread, garlic, parsley and thyme leaves into a food processor, and pulse until it has a sandy texture (with specks of green parsley). Or do this with a handheld blender. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse to mix it evenly. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge or freezer until required.
Pre heat the oven to 200ºC. Prepare the mussels, as above. Prepare the Provençal breadcrumbs, following my recipe above. Finely dice the onion. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a high heat. Add the onion, bay leaves and thyme, reduce the heat to medium, stir, cover with a lid and cook for 1 minute or until the onion has softened.
Increase the heat to high, add the mussels, pour in the white wine cover with a lid and cook for 1-2 minutes – enough time for the mussels to open. Drain the mussels in a colander and over a bowl, saving the cooking juices. Place the mussels on a baking tray.
Carefully remove one half of each mussel shell and discard it – this leaves the mussel flesh inside one half of the shell, and ready for the breadcrumb topping. Place the mussels on a baking tray. At this stage you can add a little extra hit of garlic by topping each mussel with garlic butter.
Sprinkle some of the Provençal breadcrumbs over each mussel and place in the pre heated oven for 3-5 minutes until golden. Serve with some crusty bready and a rosé from Provence.