I know, I know…not everyone loves mussels, but personally, I think they are one of the most romantic things to share with your main squeeze or to share with your best friends at a dinner party. There is just something about these jewels of black shell filled with little morsels of tasty shellfish that makes intimate relationships so easy to accomplish. Somehow, the act of using your hands to picking mussels out of a steaming bowl of the broth placed among your guests, plucking the meat out of the shell, and then dunking crusty bread or ‘frites’ when all the mussels are gone makes eating them an almost sensuous experience. And of course the shared beer or wine makes it an even more intimate experience.
For this reason, almost every culture in the world has recognized mussels as an important part of their cuisine.
For example, in Belgium, the Netherlands and France, mussels are often served with french fries (“frites”) or bread. In Belgium, mussels are sometimes served with fresh herbs and flavorful vegetables in a stock of butter and white wine. Belgian beer is almost universally associated with them in most places around the world. In the Netherlands, they are sometimes served fried in batter or breadcrumbs, particularly at take-out or at street vendor locations. In France, you will find baked mussels along the beaches in the South of France.
In Italy, mussels are often mixed with other seafood, or eaten with pasta. I have an awesome recipe for this in my collection. I’ll share it sometime soon.
In Spain, they are consumed mostly steamed by boiling white wine, onions and herbs, and serving the broth with lemon. They can also be eaten as a sort of croquette using the mussel meat, shrimp and other fish in a béchamel sauce, then breaded and fried.
In Turkey, they are either covered with flour and fried or filled with rice and served cold, usually with beer.
They are prepared in Ireland by boiling them in seasoned vinegar, serving the “bray” (broth) as an accompanying hot drink.
In Cantonese cuisine, mussels are cooked in a broth of garlic and fermented black beans.
In New Zealand, they are served in a chili or garlic-based vinaigrette, processed into fritters and fried, or used as the base for a chowder.
In India, mussels are popular in Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka-Bhatkal, and Goa. They are either prepared with drumsticks, breadfruit or other vegetables, or filled with rice and coconut paste with spices and served hot.
Mussels are just not that hard to prepare well. You can do this! You can serve them as an appetizer or as a main course with a fresh green salad, crusty bread, beer or wine.
In Lou’s culture, we keep the recipe simple. These little mollusks just don’t need a lot of help from heavy spicing or sauces. And if this takes you more than 10 minutes to prepare and serve, you are over thinking the process or overcooking the mussels. And if you’ve never had them before, try this recipe because I’m pretty certain they’ll become a mainstay of your eating-out or eating-home menus.
Mussels In White Wine
Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 18 min | Makes: 2 servings | Difficulty: Easy
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup sweet onions, chopped
- 1 large stalk celery, chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
- 3 tbsp celery, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1-1/2 cups white wine (prefer Pinot Grigio or Prosecco)
- 4 tbsp butter, cut into cubes
- 2 pounds live mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 5 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Crusty bread
1. In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil.
2. When the oil is hot, saute the celery, onions and garlic until translucent and tender.
3. Add the wine and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
4. Add the mussels.
5. Sprinkle the thyme, parsley, butter and several grinds of fresh black pepper on top of the mussels.
6. Cover and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
7. Simmer the mussels for 5 to 8 minutes until the shells open and the mussels are done.
8. Discard any that do not open.
9. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
10. Divide the mussels and broth between two bowls (or share them right out of the pot) and serve with crusty bread and a spoon to enjoy the broth.
A. Careful with the salt. It really doesn’t need a lot because the mussels tend to be salty.
B. If desired, add just a little cream at the end of cooking to offer another layer of taste.
C. I’ve also added a jigger of Anisette or Ouzo at the end. Awesome!! For a change of pace.
Source: Lou’s Recipe Collection
Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager