Mus­sels and bar­ley with wa­ter­cress

The Guardian - Feast - - News -

This bowl of good­ness is some­where be­tween a stew and a soup. It’s light enough for a sum­mer sup­per, but also warm­ing when the tem­per­a­ture drops. Serve in the pot at the ta­ble.

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Take two cloves from the gar­lic head and peel and thinly slice them. Driz­zle a tea­spoon of oil over the rest of the head, and sprin­kle with a lit­tle salt and pep­per. Wrap the head tightly in foil and roast for 40 min­utes, un­til the cloves have soft­ened and turned golden brown. Re­move the foil and, when the gar­lic is cool enough to han­dle, squeeze out the cloves and dis­card the skin.

Mean­while, put the bar­ley in a medium saucepan with plenty of cold wa­ter and put on a medi­umhigh heat. Bring to a sim­mer and cook for 25-30 min­utes, un­til the bar­ley is semi-cooked but still has a good bite to it, then drain.

Put a large saucepan on a medium heat with the re­main­ing 75ml oil, the raw and cooked gar­lic, shal­lots, car­away seeds, le­mon peel, scotch bon­net and two and a half tea­spoons of salt. Fry gen­tly for 10-12 min­utes, stir­ring of­ten, un­til the shal­lots are soft and golden brown (turn down the heat if they start colour­ing too quickly). Add the toma­toes and tomato paste, and cook for eight min­utes, un­til the toma­toes start to break down. Add the wine, 750ml cold wa­ter and plenty of pep­per, bring to a sim­mer and cook for seven min­utes. Add the bar­ley and cook for eight min­utes more, un­til it has swollen a lit­tle in the sauce.

Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the mus­sels, cover the pan and cook un­til they open – any­where be­tween three and six min­utes.

Pour over the cream, add the wa­ter­cress and plenty of pep­per, and gen­tly stir ev­ery­thing to­gether. Serve hot with the le­mon wedges.

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