This dish is almost like a Mexican Moules Marinières, flavoured with coriander and lime. The tequila needs to be burnt off before cooking the mussels otherwise it will be too strong. This idea for this came to me after meeting chef Johnny Hernandez, who made one of the most amazing dishes that I had ever seen. It involved a ı2-foot pit of charcoal, a metal coffin on a chain and a cow’s head roasted for ı2 hours… and my god it tasted so good. These mussels are a little bit easier to prepare.
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery sticks, diced
2 green chillies, diced
4 tablespoons tequila
250ml double cream
3 limes, zested and juiced
2 large bunches of coriander, freshly chopped
small bunch of mint, freshly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.5kg mussels, cleaned
Heat the butter in a large, non-stick casserole pan, and once it’s melted, sweat the onion, garlic and celery over a low heat until softened but not coloured. Keep the heat really low so the vegetables don’t burn. It’ll take around ı5 minutes.
Add the chillies to the pan, stir in and cook for 2–3 minutes. Pour in the tequila and light the pan to burn off the alcohol, then pour in the cream and stir in. Add the lime zest, followed by half the herbs and season, then stir everything together.
As soon as the sauce is boiling, tip in the cleaned mussels, stir all the ingredients together and cover the pan with a lid. Bring to the boil and cook for 3–4 minutes. Take the lid off the pan, then pour over the lime juice. Sprinkle over the rest of the herbs, toss everything together and serve straight away.
JAMES MARTIN’S AMERICAN ADVENTURE (Quadrille, £25.00) Photography: Peter Cassidy