Grilled Coromandel Mussels with Chorizo, Tarragon and Croûtons




Steamed Mussels

  • 2kg fresh green-lipped mussels
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine

Mussel Butter

  • mussel cooking juices
  • 250g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped tarragon leaves
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 

To Cook and Serve

  • olive oil
  • 1 cup stale bread, cut into 5mm dice
  • 1 large Agria potato, cut into 5mm dice
  • mussel butter (at room temperature)
  • cooked mussels in the half shell
  • 1/2 cup 5mm-diced chorizo
  • 1 tbsp picked tarragon leaves
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • freshly cracked black pepper


Inspired by a trip to the Hays’ oyster farm in Mahurangi, where Andrew and Lisa took a few of the crew out on their barge. After devouring as many oysters as we possibly could, Andrew showed us a secret trove of wild mussels, which he later prepared on the barbecue with a simple garlic butter.

I like the different textures you get from the potato and crisp croûtons, and the chorizo works wonderfully well with the fresh briny flavour of the mussels. When grilled, the mussels release more of their juice, which combines with the oils in the chorizo creating an addictive sauce in the shell.

Steamed Mussels

Wash the mussels under cold water, scrubbing the shells together to remove any loose bits. Grab the beard tightly and remove.

Place a saucepan over high heat. Add the mussels, onion, fennel and white wine and cover tightly with a lid. Cook for 3 minutes, shaking the saucepan once or twice, then check to see if the mussels are opening. As they open, remove from the saucepan and set aside to cool. Discard any that haven’t opened.

Strain the mussel cooking juices through a fine sieve and refrigerate until required.

Once the mussels have cooled slightly, detach the mussel from the shell and place back into a clean half-shell. Place on a baking tray, cover and refrigerate until required.

Mussel Butter

Place the saved mussel juices in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat until slightly thick and shiny. Remove from the heat and cool.

Place the soft butter, tarragon, fish sauce, garlic and 3 tablespoons of the reduced mussel juice into a bowl, then work together until incorporated. Form the butter into a log, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate until required.

To Cook and Serve

Preheat the oven grill to high.

Lightly oil the diced bread and place on a baking tray. Toast under the grill for 2 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove and hold.

Place the potato cubes in a saucepan of cold salted water. Bring to the boil on the stovetop and cook for 5 minutes until tender. Remove from the heat and drain. 

Place 1/2 teaspoon of the mussel butter over each mussel, then scatter with cooked potato and the chorizo. Place under the grill for 3–5 minutes until the butter is melted and the mussels are getting slightly brown.

Sprinkle the mussels with the croûtons and tarragon leaves, then finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a crack of pepper. 

Eat now.

Wine match, Waipara Hills 2015 Equinox Sauvignon Blanc
Vibrant and complex. Flavours of rich stone fruit with a touch of smoky oak.
This dish has different textures and powerful flavours in the mussels and chorizo which will marry nicely with weightiness of The  Equinox Sauvignon Blanc. The crisp finish of this wine will freshen the palate.

Credit: Depot: The Biography of a Restaurant by Al Brown. RRP $70, published by Random House, photography by Kieran Scott.