Vol-au-vents of mussel, spinach and Roquefort

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Bringing a modern twist to a retro classic, Mark Dodson's vol-au-vents have a creamy blue cheese sauce to complement the mussel filling. Don't be afraid of giving mussels a try at home – really quick to cook and make these puff pastry tarts extra special. These individual versions make a great lunch, but you could make smaller ones for canapés as well.

First published in 2015





  • 300g of puff pastry
  • 350g of mussels, about 50 mussels
  • 100ml of white wine
  • 1 sprig of parsley
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 120ml of double cream
  • 50g of Roquefort cheese
  • 120g of spinach
  • olive oil
  • mixed salad leaves, such as cresses and herbs, to serve


Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Line a baking tray with baking parchment
Roll out the puff pastry to approximately 1cm thick and cut out four 9cm discs of the pastry. Lightly mark a 7cm circle indent in the centre of each disc for the lid
  • 300g of puff pastry
Transfer to the lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until golden brown
Allow to cool, then carefully cut around the indent to remove the centre of the puff pastry to create a lid. Set the cases and lids aside until needed
To prepare the filling, clean and wash the mussels in plenty of fresh water, discarding any with broken shells or that don’t close when tapped
Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and soften the chopped shallot. Add the mussels to the pan with chopped parsley and white wine
  • olive oil
  • 100ml of white wine
  • 1 sprig of parsley
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
Cover the pan with a lid, and allow to steam for a few minutes until the mussels are cooked through (all the shells should have opened)
Drain the mussels but keep the cooking liquid. Pick through the mussels to remove them from their shells, checking for any remaining beards or broken shells
Pass the cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a clean pan, then return to the heat and boil down until reduced to a few tablespoons
Add the double cream and continue to cook until thickened and smooth, then add the mussels to the sauce to heat through. Crumble in the Roquefort cheese and remove from the heat
In a separate pan, wilt the spinach in a little olive oil until softened, then pat dry on kitchen towel and spoon some into each pastry case. Top with some of the creamy mussel mix and top each with a pastry lid
Brush the lids with a little olive oil and serve with fresh salad leaves, cress and chopped herbs
  • mixed salad leaves, such as cresses and herbs, to serve
First published in 2015

Mark Dodson speaks the language of comfort food with Shakespearean fluency, turning perfectly formed elements into down-to-earth (but heavenly) compositions.

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