1kg mussels, cleaned, debearded and rinsed
60ml dry white wine
100g ’nduja
2 thick slices sourdough bread
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 small cucumbers (Qukes), sliced
1 tablespoon shredded mint
1 tablespoon shredded dill
4 tablespoons aioli
4 tablespoons Lovage Oil (see recipe)
LOVAGE OIL makes 80ml (⅓ cup)
50g lovage leaves
80ml (⅓ cup) grapeseed oil

We first started serving a version of this dish at Marion [Andrew McConnell’s Melbourne wine bar] and it has evolved over the years. To this day it’s still one of our favourite ways to eat mussels. And, obviously, ’nduja makes everything better.


Lovage is a perennial herb that is similar both in its appearance and in flavour to celery. The leaves can be used similarly to other soft green herbs in pestos and salads, or the leaves and stalks may be sautéed and served in the style of green vegetables.

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1.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2.Heat a stockpot or large saucepan over a high heat.
3.Add mussels and white wine, cover with a lid and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until the mussels open.
4.Drain, reserving the mussel juice, and set aside to cool.
5.Remove the mussels from the shells, discarding any unopened mussels, and check again for beards.
6.Strain the mussel juice through a sieve and pour over the mussels.
7.The mussels can keep for a few days stored like this in an airtight container in the fridge.
8.Remove the skin from the ’nduja, break into small pieces and cook in a saucepan over medium heat until the oil releases and the ’nduja is lightly coloured and aromatic.
9.Drain and set aside on a paper towel to cool to room temperature.
10.Remove crusts from the bread and cut each slice of bread in half.
11.Coat each slice in the olive oil and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
12.Bake in the oven until crispy and golden brown.
13.To serve, strain the mussels from the juice, reserving the juice, and place mussels in a bowl.
14.Dress with four tablespoons of the reserved mussel juice, vinegar and lemon juice.
15.Add the cucumber and herbs and toss to combine.
16.Place 1 slice of toasted bread on each of 4 serving plates or bowls.
17.Spoon a tablespoon of the aioli onto each piece of bread and top each with the mussels, dressing and cucumber salad.
18.Drizzle each plate with 1 tablespoon of the lovage oil and sprinkle with the cooked ’nduja to serve.
20.Blanch the lovage leaves for 1 minute in a saucepan of salted boiling water and refresh in a bowl of iced water.
21.Squeeze out excess water, then roughly chop and pound the lovage leaves in a mortar and pestle, slowly adding the oil.
22.Alternatively you could blend with the oil using a stick blender in a small container.
23.Once the oil is a bright green colour, strain through a fine sieve or muslin cloth and store in the fridge until you are ready to use.

This is an edited extract
from Meatsmith by
Andrew McConnell and
Troy Wheeler published
by Hardie Grant
Books. Photography
© Mark Roper 2023.