Mussels and cooking on peat

Having set two goals, to cook shellfish on open fire and use traditional flavours along with the mussels and Oysters. It was the turn of the mussels from the coast of Kerry.

So having washed and de bearded, discard any that float while washing, discard mussels that do not open when cooked on the peat embers or those steamed in a saucepan.

Now for the cooking placed the washed mussels on the peat, slow heat so for at least five minutes, when open remove and eat, the smoky mussel with the flavour of the salty sea are bliss on a Spring day, some mussels sat directly on the peat other on lettuce leaves. Surprised by the length of time the leaves lasted on smouldering peat embers

Mussels on peat

The next lot of mussels were steamed a little drop of water for the butter to melt, chopped wild Garlic, chives and herbs from garden, just heaven

Buttery, herby mussels

I have to say the mussels were sublime, but the real satisfaction came from having evidence that the People of Ireland used peat for heating and cooking. The cooking evidence was elusive. archaeological excavation by G Scally finally provided me with such proof. So peat, wood and charcoal can be used as fuel when hearth cooking. I plan to have mussels on sunny afternoons a lot more often. Even though I live in the midlands of Ireland, there is a great fish mongers in Nenagh, on average I think most places in Ireland are no more than sixty or seventy miles as the crow flies from the coast. Best of all I can cook with local fuels if I so wish, a thing that will come to an end sooner than later. For those who have not smelt peat burning, it’s unique and the saving of peat brings many memories of my grandad Jack , a gentle man with a love of animal, nature and all it beheld, grew up learning a lot about nature even though I was raised in urban settings mostly. His gift to me.

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