Lowest Fat Superfoods: Mussels

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A lot of people are dont like seafood. This generally happens in areas with no sea shore where the access to them is generally not so easy and they are not part of the traditional way of eating. Big Mistake!

It also normally means that they are quite expensive since they are not readily available and if you haven’t seen them in your family as a standard food while growing up, the changes that you would consider eaten them when you are older is less.

Travelling is great to open your eyes to new foods, some are good and some are not so good. The first time I ate pizza I think I must have been 10 or 12 years old!! I had Thai food first time 5 years ago and for a while there I didn’t like peppers or aubergine.

We all go through bad food stages, especially when we are in our early teens, “don’t like this don’t like that” generally the no-go foods are the ones our mums say are healthy. I think it is the rebellious spirit manifesting itself. Fish and broccoli generally fall under this category, and mussels do as well. They are ugly little things, you have to admit, and they smell really strong of sea water when they are uncooked, and I get that it is not everybody’s piece of cake.

One the things we can do to try mussels without having to go through the pain of preparing them is to order them when we are eating out. They come in a pot, already made and they provide long entertainment through the meal, with plenty of opportunities for chatting.

The reason why it is worth giving them a go is because as most seafood, they are almost purely protein and they are incredibly nutrient rich.

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They provide a very good amount of B12 vitamin (340% of your daily recommended intake) in only a 80gr portion, but they are also rich in the other B vitamins group.They are also an important source of: Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Iron, phosphorus, manganese, selenium and zinc.  Selenium plays a very important role in your thyroid function and manganese is involved in bone structure and the metabolism of energy.

When it comes to protein, around 15 mussels provide you with the same amount of protein that a 170 gr steak of beef, with a much lower fat content, so if you are trying to lose weight, mussels are the way to go. The have less than 2% of fat and it is all Omega 3, which helps protect your heart and arteries.

If this was not reason enough, they are a really high in Iodine which keeps your nails and hair strong and shiny! So what is there not to like about them??

I encourage you to try them if you haven’t done and expand your food horizons. Your waistline will thank you and your general health too.

If I have convince you, here is a little recipe, super easy, that you can do in less than 15 minutes!

 

Ingredients (serves 2):

750gr of mussels with their shells

2 garlic cloves

1 stalk of celery

1 bunch of fresh parsley

½ a small glass of white wine

Extra virgin olive oil

 

In a high pot (you will need the space) heat up one tablespoon of olive oil. Peel the garlic and mash it and chop the celery stick in small slices. Chop the parsley and when the oil is hot, add the garlic and celery. Add most of the parsley but reserve a little bit to garnish at the end.

The mussels should be clean (they sell them clean too, so that would help) and drained from all liquid. The best way to keep them is in water with some salt in the fridge and cook them in the 24 to 48h after buying them. When you are ready to cook them, drain them from the water and add them to the pot. Put the lid on!! This is very important because the mussels cook in the hot steam, and the lid will make the open easier and cook faster, leave them there for 2 to 5 minutes until open, add the white wine and let it boil for another couple of minutes.

Taste the flavour, but they should be salty enough as it is.

Serve immediately in the same pot (if it’s nice) or in a deep serving tray that allows the sauce to come with them garnished with the rest of the parsley, and set a bowl next to you for the empty shells.

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Enjoy!

 

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Calamari & Prawns Black rice

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As promised, a very simple, truly delightful lunch option made with Riz Venere, Forbidden rice, or simply… black rice!

Ingredients:

50 gr. Black rice (per each person)

50 gr. raw peeled prawns

50 gr. clean calamari rings

1/4 fish stock cube

Extra Virgin Olive oil

1/2 an onion finely chopped

1 clove of garlic

To prepare the rice, put it in water the night before if you remember, if not, you can put it in a bowl and add really hot water (out of the kettle for example) for about an hour before cooking, this will reduce the amount of cooking time later on.

In a medium size pot at medium high temperature cook the onion in a teaspoon of olive oil. After a couple of minutes add the garlic to avoid it from burning since it cooks quicker than the onion. Add the seafood and cook for a couple of minutes.

Remove the water from the rice and wash. Remove the excess of water and add to the pan. Dry it off for a couple of minutes to ensure the raw rice gets all the flavor and then add twice as much cold water as the volume occupied by the rice. Add the fish stock cube.

Set the heat to low maintaining in a low boiling mode for about 30 minutes and check every 10 to make sure everything is ok.

This rice will not absorb the water in the same way white rice does, so at the end of the concoction you might need to boost the heat and let it evaporate.

All rices are better eaten 5 to 10 minutes after being cooked, this allows the to SET. You might think it is just a silly detail, but it makes all the difference.

Enjoy!!

By the way, I would love to hear your opinions and comments if you try any of the recipes! 🙂

Spanish Fish Stew

 

 

 

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Happy Monday, so to speak!

Today I would like to share with you a typical Spanish dish, that I have adapted slightly to be just a little bit healthier. It’s origin is in the north of the country, which being on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, it has one of the most stunning cooking styles (and ingredients) in the world.

This is a dish that can be prepared in advanced, making it very handy when you have people over, but also very good to have a warm delicious dinner waiting for you at home during the week. It is a bit time consuming, and has one step that even if it’s difficult, it can be intimidating for beginners…

Ingredients (serves 5):

100 gr of prawns (uncooked)

250 gr clams (with shell)

100 gr calamari rings

100 gr. mussels

250 gr monkfish (or hake if you can’t find it or as a cheaper alternative)

2 leeks

2 onions

1 carrot

A pinch of tarragon

1/2 a small glass of Brandy

1 cup fresh chopped tomato

2 cubes of fish stock

1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kitchen equipment: a blender and a match

First prepare the fish stock. Traditional recipes can be found to do this the old fashion way, I personally don’t have the time and I always find it impossible to make it taste strong enough, so I cheat and use fish stock cubes. 2 dissolved in 1 liter of hot water. Be my guest if you want to create your own fumee… you have all my respect!

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Once the stock is ready and waiting to be used, we need to peel, clean and chop roughly our onions, leeks and carrot and cook them on medium heat until they are soft, then add salt and a pinch of tarragon. Bring up the temperature to the max and after 1 minute, add the brandy liquor and be prepared with the match. Light it up and let the alcohol burn until the flame dies for itself, it wont take more than a few seconds, don’t worry.

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Then add the tomato and mix and immediately after, the fish stock. Bring back to medium heat and let boil for another 20 minutes.

In the meantime, wash and chop the fish and the seafood except the clams, that should remain in water until it’s time to use them. Add salt and pepper to the fish and reserve.

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When the soup is ready, blend it all together until smooth and then add the clams, and then the seafood and fish. Then try the it and correct the salt only if necessary. Let cook for 3 more minutes and leave it to rest until cool. You can serve immediately, but I recommend waiting until the next meal time or even next day. You can also freeze it in portions.

Normally the recipe has bread to thicken the sauce, I have added one more onion for this purpose to avoid unnecessary carbs.

This is an absolutely delicious treat for those in a diet, and simply for anyone looking to impress dinner invitees!