Mussel Madness!

Cleaned, Debearded and Ready for the Pot

Jeanne and I love eating mussels but it is one of those foods that we seldom think to prepare. Maybe we don’t spend enough time wandering through the seafood section of the grocery store or maybe we are just getting forgetful in middle age. Whatever the reason, it is always a delightful surprise when we “come to” and decide to do a batch.

Mussels have a lot to recommend them as a choice for your dinner table as well. They are a sustainable seafood choice (according to Seachoice), they are inexpensive (usually about $2.00/pound), they are easy to prepare and they are very nutritious.

Mussels are very rich in vitamins and minerals and very low in fat. They are also a very healthy source of protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids. Mussels have almost the same protein content per weight as beef, but only have ¼ the calories.

Nutritional Information Per 1.lb. Mussels (100g cooked meat)
Amount per serving              % Daily Values
Calories: 100
Fat: 2.0g                                           3%
Saturated: 0g.
Trans: 0g.
Cholesterol: 40mg.                     13%
Sodium: 200mg.                          11%
Carbohydrate: 6g.                        2%
Fibre: 0g.
Sugars: 0g.
Protein: 16g
Vitamin A:                                       4%
Calcium:                                           2%
Vitamin C:                                       0%
Iron:                                                25%

Steamed Mussels in White Wine

4 lbs. live mussels
3 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup shallot minced
1/2 cup white onion diced
1 red pepper diced
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
1 cup white wine

To prepare the mussels start by discarding any mussels that are open or broken in any way. These are most likely dead already so may be unsafe to eat. Next soak the mussels in cold fresh water for about 20 minutes. This allows the mussels to expel any sand that they may contain. Remove the mussels from the water one at a time and scrub and remove the beard. The beard or byssal threads are a fibrous material that the mussels use to attach themselves to rocks or in the case of farmed mussels, ropes. The beard is easily removed by grasping tightly and pulling toward the hinge of the shell.

That’s it, the mussels are ready for the pot!

Chopped Shallots

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onions and peppers and saute until tender but not yet brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for a further minute.

Chopped Peppers

Chopped Onions

Add the fresh parsley and white wine to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, stir well and steam the mussels until they open, about 5 minutes. Remove the Mussels with a large slotted spoon and place in bowls. Make sure to discard any mussels that have not opened. Boil the remaining liquid until reduced by approximately half. Spoon over the mussels.

Mussels in White Wine

Serve the mussels with a crusty french loaf to soak up the sauce. We paired the mussels with a 2008 Wine by Joe Pinot Gris from Oregon.

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