Filo basket of mussels with bacon and brie

For a truly stylish starter try Nick Nairn's mouthwatering recipe for crisp filo baskets filled with a tasty mussel mixture
By Nick Nairn
Filo basket of mussels with bacon and brie
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus cooling
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

main

  • 18 x 15cm square sheets of filo pastry, (cut from 3 large leaves)
  • 50 g butter, melted

For the mussel filling:

  • 2.25 kg live mussels
  • 300 ml dry white wine
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemons
  • 150 ml double cream
  • freshly ground sea salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 4 rashers of smoked back bacon, grilled, cooled on kitchen paper, then chopped into small pieces
  • 100 g ripe brie, rind removed, cut into six squares

To serve:

  • 200 g salad leaves
  • 2 tbsp vinaigrette

Method

1. For the filo baskets, preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.

2. Take three squares of the filo pastry, place the first one on a flat surface, and brush with a little melted butter. Turn the next square through 30 degrees and place it on top of the first one before brushing with butter. Repeat with the remaining piece creating a star shape, brush with butter.

3. Ease the star, butter side down into an individual 7.5cm metal tartlet tin or ramekin, the star points facing down. Push well down and prick with a fork. Repeat for the other baskets, making 6 in all.

4. Put the filo-lined tins on a baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes, until the cases are slightly golden and hold their shape.

5. Remove from the oven and lift baskets from their tins, turn them upside down, replace on the baking sheet and cook for a further 4-5 minutes, until evenly brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Once cool, store in an airtight container where they will keep for up to 12 hours.

6. To prepare the mussels, scrub them well, scrape off any barnacles and remove the beards that protrude from between the two halves of the shell. Discard any that do not close when lightly tapped on the work surface.

7. For the mussel filling, choose a pan with a tight fitting lid. Heat it dry then put in the drained mussels.

8. Add 100ml of the wine, put the lid on and cook for 5 minutes until the mussels open. Do not over-cook and discard any mussels that don't open. Drain in a colander over a bowl.

9. Shell the cooked mussels. Strain the juice carefully through double muslin and retain. Add water if necessary, to make it up to 450ml.

10. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.

11. Melt the butter in a saucepan and sweat the chopped onion and garlic until soft.

12. Add the mussel juice and the rest of the wine. Cook briskly until reduced to a fifth of the original volume.

13. Add the lemon juice, cream, sea salt and freshly ground pepper and sugar and reduce again until it is very thick and sticky.

14. Add the bacon and mussels and heat through, checking seasoning as you go.

15. Divide the mixture between the filo baskets. Top each one with a square of brie, place on a baking sheet and heat through in the oven for 3 minutes.

16. Serve the baskets on individual plates, surrounded by dressed salad leaves.

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