Saturday, May 9, 2009

Petite sea shells

I am nuts about the tiny shellfish called tellines. You only see them occasionally and when you do, you pounce. We'd already planned to buy mussels from the mussel man who is always at the markets at Lavelanet and Mirepoix. He's a cheerful bearded m'sieu who provides "un bon kilo" for the price of an ordinary kilo (which has been three euros for two or three years now). He also sells oysters and, because it's now in season, asparagus making him the king of aphrodisiac foods. 
  Yesterday he was also selling tellines. Because they're pretty expensive, I only bought a few hundred grams. The original plan was to serve them as a first course but, in the end, it was simpler to cook the shellfish at the same time in two different pots. A glug of vermouth was all the tellines got. The moules had a hot bath in that plus chopped onion, garlic and tomato. Both got a sprinkle of fresh parsley as the finishing touch.
   Here's a shot of the tellines straight from the market, no two the same, and looking exactly like beach pebbles. The biggest are roughly the size of an almond in its shell. As you can see, they're considerably smaller than mussels. Their flesh is pink, a little salty and sweet and I could eat hundreds at a sitting. And have. 

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