Late lunch/dinner out on the deck was fresh baked bread and live Green Lipped Mussels, unique to New Zealand. Back in Australia we did not like to buy them because they were frozen, and were not juicy and soft like they are when sold fresh. Mussels are not expensive in Dunedin and we buy them regularly. From the many ways they can be prepared we enjoy the simple unadorned recipes the most. I was lucky to get a picture of the half empty dish!
NZ Green Lipped Mussels
1 kg live mussels, bearded and scrubbed, all sand rinsed away
6 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 pinch of dried chili flakes
3/4 cup of white wine
Salt and pepper
Put the olive oil, garlic and chili in a pot big enough to hold all the mussels. Gently soften the garlic, add the wine and the mussels. Cover the pot and turn up the heat. When the mussels have opened and released their juices, remove them from the pan, and reduce the sauce until there is only an inch or so left in the pot, add salt and pepper to taste. Add the mussels and the sauce that may have been released while standing, toss, warm through and serve with fresh bread and plenty of Pinot Grigio (here we have to settle for something completely different, namely Pinot Gris, which is heavier, darker and duller).
The secret here is not to lose any of the wine and liquid released by the mussels and to reduce and reduce the sauce until when finished, it will just cover each mussel in a film of sauce when tossed, with a little left in the pot to sop up after serving.
This recipe has been used with great success as a pasta sauce, too.