This dish of steamed mussels is a must for seafood lovers. They are tasty, high in protein, and low in fat and simple to cook at home. To be honest, I’ve had some of the best mussels in my life from Prince Edward Island, but fresh mussels from anywhere will do.
How To Get the Best Mussels?
To help you choose and purchase the best mussels, consider the following:
- Get your mussels from a reputable fish market where they are able to provide information on the origin of their supply.
- There ought to be a label stating when it was harvested.
- The mussels should be put through a sniff test. They should have a clean, sea-like scent, like freshly caught fish, but not fishy.
- Mussels will keep in the fridge for a few days, but they are best consumed on the day they are purchased.
- 3 pounds of fresh mussels
- 4 cloves of chopped garlic
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Sliced lightly toasted rustic bread (spread with extra virgin olive oil with minced garlic, salt)
- ½ cup of chopped onion or shallots
- ⅓ cup of dry white wine
- ¼ cup of chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of sugar
- Fresh ground pepper
- Put the mussels in a large bowl and cover them with cold water to clean them. Mussels that have been opened and are still alive should close their shells after a few minutes. Any mussels that still have their shells open should be thrown away. Scrub each mussel shell to remove any loosened barnacles. Move to a new bowl containing sterile water.
- Using a kitchen towel to grab the seaweed, pull firmly to remove any obvious “beards” that are attached to the mussels. Once you’ve scrubbed all the mussels, rinse them in a new bowl of water to remove any lingering debris. Put them in a large colander to drain.
- If you find sand in the bottom of the bowl, repeat the soaking and draining process. In order to get the mussels to release more sand, you need to soak them for a longer period of time. If there is no more sand, drain the mussels in a colander.
- Prepare your sliced bread by brushing it with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and a pinch of minced garlic. Garlic toast can be made ahead of time on a baking sheet and then toasted in the broiler.
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a big, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Saute a half cup of chopped onions or shallots with 4 minced garlic cloves and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant (about 5 minutes).
- Increase the temperature to high, then add the mussels that have been cleaned, along with the salt and sugar (this balances the acidity in the wine). Combine ingredients thoroughly. Half of the parsley or carrot greens, plus a third of a cup of dry white wine.
- Use a large metal spoon to stir the ingredients thoroughly, beginning at the bottom and working your way up. Lock the lid on the pot. You should give everything another stir after waiting a minute. Once they warm up, the mussels open.
- Mussels need to be cooked for about 2 minutes with the lid on at a rolling boil. To ensure the mussels cook uniformly, give the pot another stir. Replace the lid and continue cooking the mussels for another 2 minutes. Toss out any unopened mussels after making sure all others have done the same.
- Combine the remaining chopped parsley or carrot greens with the freshly ground pepper to taste.
- To serve, remove the mussels and their broth from the heat and carefully pour them into a large serving bowl (we serve them straight out of the pot to keep them hot!).
- Serve with the toasted garlic bread, which is ideal for dunking in the rich broth.