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Gin-Infused Mussels with Orange Crème Fraîche

A Fisherman's Place - 18 Dec 2020

Africa's Greatest Recipes

Gin-Infused Mussels with Orange Crème Fraîche

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We’re assuming that you’ve been happily stuffing your face with our African-inspired, contemporary seafood dishes. We’re back in the kitchen with yet another tasty recipe for you to try at home. This time we’ve turned to our ' speshell ' companions, mussels, and we’ve been cooking up a storm.

Pescaluna , our fishermen-in-arms, delivers fresh fish to your door in Cape Town from our dock in Hout Bay, and we have partnered with South African celebrity chef, Reuben Riffel, to bring you Africa’s Greatest fish dishes.

Today’s mussel recipe is an ode to these creatures, who have for long been
considered an aphrodisiac in many civilisations dating back somewhat 2000 years.


Mussel Tov!

Pescaluna delivers high quality mussels that are cultivated in Saldanha Bay, (which is home to Ocean Blue Mussels). The unique West Coast conditions provide the perfect environment for plump and tender  mussels.

While we deliver a batch to your door from our dock in Hout Bay, let’s give you a mussel-refresher. Mussels also have a sweet brininess taste to them with a mushroom-like texture.

Their flesh is somewhat soft and strangely feels chewy in the mouth. Mussels have a natural ocean flavour that provides a mild taste, which is great for absorbing other flavours in your dish.

It is relatively easy to spot the difference between wild and cultured mussels. Start by looking for the hints of blue and white erosion marks on their shells; these are wild mussels, which need a thorough cleaning when you plan on eating them. Cultured mussels on the other hand have shinier and smoother blue-black shells and only need to be rinsed in cold water.

Don’t be alarmed if a batch of mussels is of different colours. What you should know is that pale, white meat indicates that your mussel is male and that a tungsten (warmer) colour indicates a female.

Mussels are great to include in a recipe and are often substituted for clams or oysters. The difference is, clams and oysters are usually eaten raw, and mussels are usually cooked - except in Africa. Women and children often eat them raw on therocks.

The Mussel and Bustle of Sea Life

1. Mussel meat is rich in protein, contains less fat and has many more mineral nutrients compared to beef.

2. Mussels are a great source of selenium and vitamin B12.

3. They are an excellent source of zinc and folate.

4. Mussels are nutritious and quite low in sodium and saturated fat.

5. Mussels are high in copper and magnesium.

6. They are a great source of potassium and calcium.


Gin-Infused Mussels with Orange Crème Fraîche

We’ll take the pressure of buying mussels off you. Pescaluna delivers fresh fish in Cape Town, straight to your door - and mussels too!

You can gather all of your ingredients while you wait on your doorbell to ring. We’ll drop them off and maybe even stay for dinner - this next recipe is absolutely vibrant and flavourful, and we won’t be able to resist!


● 1kg of Pescaluna’s mussels , half shell
● 1 clove of garlic, chopped
● 40g of butter
● 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
● 1 small onion, finely chopped
● 1 cardamom pod, crushed
● 150g English spinach

Tipsy Sauce

● Zest and juice of 1 orange
● ½ cup of gin
● 200ml crème fraîche

The Recipe

If you’ve never cooked with mussels, you’ll see just how easy and delicious it can be. P.S. The ½ cup of gin is for the sauce, not the martini. Let’s get cooking!

1. Defrost mussels overnight in a colander with a bowl underneath to collect the juices, use the juices in your sauce.

2. Heat the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic, and cook on a low heat without discolouring the onion.

3. Add the orange juice, gin and crème fraîche. Allow it to slowly cool together for 2 minutes.

4. Add the mussels, parsley, spinach and cardamom. Slowly heat through for 3 to 5 minutes.

5.  Season with a little salt, pepper and orange zest.

6. Serve with a slice of sourdough bread and butter.

- Et voilà! Bon Appétit.

The Botanical Garden

Paired with Craft Gin

No dish is truly complete without a drink pairing to enhance the experience. You might want to opt for a glass of Sauvignon or a glass of Pinot-Grigio, but we suggest keeping it local and lekker with some of our favourite local craft gin to compliment your mussel dish.

Gin pairs best with citrus-centred flavours as well as savoury flavours like chilli, thyme, cucumber, mint, lemon and lime.

● Sugarbird Gin: This gin embodies notes of honeybush, rooibos and the
Cape Mayflower. It has a vibrant, floral and citrus character.

● Six Dogs Distillery Blue Gin: The Blue Pea flower infusion is what gives this gin its naturally striking blue colour. It has a classic dry taste with hints of rose geranium.

● Hope On Hopkins Salt River Gin: This contemporary gin is infused with
local botanicals, such as wild rosemary and buchu. These earthy tones are what gives the gin its distinct blackcurrant, soil-like flavour.

● Inverroche Amber Gin: This handcrafted gin embodies a complex range of flavours, made up of botanicals of Africa, and spices from Europe. It has hints of rooibos tea and fresh citrus.


Pescaluna’s immaculate fresh fish catches have made for three superb
African-inspired dishes. We’ve managed to take traditional, local cuisine and add a contemporary flair to it until next week where we go proper local with a Snoek and Beer combo. 

Bon Voyage!

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