Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 14 November 1986, lot 247.
Irish Fisherman's Mussel Stew
In Clare when I was a child the meal known as dinner was often the main meal of the day and was in fact eaten at lunch-time. In the evening you had supper, or if you were not of working age, it was called tea. This dish only used water. The French call their version Moules Marinières.
It can only be foul, because restaurants often use poor wine to make it, and then the Frogs thicken it. This is the Irish version.
1 gallon mussels
4 large onions (finely chopped)
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 pint of white wine or cider
1 pint of water
1 teaspoon thyme
4 bay leaves
1lb small new potatoes
4 heads of lettuce or suitable amount of spinach
1lb carrots (small new) or cut into strips and any other vegetable on hand
salt & pepper to taste
Scrub the mussels pulling off the beard (the scraggy bit that hangs off the side). Move one shell across the other diagonally, using thumb and middle finger. They may be full of mud, if so they will snap easily. If they are open and don't shut when tapped discard them. The buggers are dead.
Sauté the onions in the butter until transparent. Add the wine, water, thyme and bay leaves. Boil until the mixture is reduced by nearly half. If it is poor wine, it will have lost its vicious flavor. The potatoes and carrots to be cooked separately and kept apart. Peel the potatoes.
Pour the mussels into the boiling stock, cover. Bring back to the boil, remove them from the pan, leaving the juices. Place the mussels in a large tureen or big old-fashioned soup plates. Put cooked vegetable and spinach into the saucepan juices. Season to taste cook for 1 minute then strain off the juice onto the mussels now covered with fresh chopped parsley. Serve the vegetable on a separate platter. You can use more vegetables if you like, it makes more of a meal of it. You need to no main dish after this.
Most of this dish can be prepared in advance so that you only need 5 minutes cooking the mussels. Organisation is the name of the game. There is nothing better than a tureen of fish and a platter of vegetable cooked in the juices. P.S. some flash bastards add garlic and saffron to the stock for that South of France flavor and colour.
P.S. Some idiots believe that you can use any quality of wine in cooking because of the temperature change - to put it politely, they are incorrect. One of the great dishes of the world, COQ AU VIN, has been nearly lost by fish-meal-fed chickens and Sicilian Beaujolais!
London, Royal Academy, 1952, no. 770.