Long a well kept secret of New England fisherman, the black mussel continues to gain popularity. Here are some tips on how to buy mussels, plus a classic recipe for fresh steamed mussels.
- Mussels today are usually cultivated–they are much cleaner than wild mussels, and their “beards” are much smaller.
- Farm-raised mussels do not require purging to release sand. If desired, rinse them with cold water. Do not soak in water or they might die.
- Discard any mussels with cracked or broken shells , or whose shells remain open.
- Look for deep blue-black, tightly closed shells. If the shells are open, tap them; discard any mussels that don’t close.
- Mussels are live and need to breath, so do not place them in air-tight plastic bags.
- Mussels release quite a bit of liquid, which adds wonderful flavor to the broth.
Classic Steamed Mussels
4 pounds of fresh mussels
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
In a large pot , heat olive oil, add sliced onion and 3 to 5 cloves of chopped garlic cloves. Saute for 4-5 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of white wine, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and a few parsley springs. Add the mussels and steam until they open, about 8-10 minutes, occasionally turn the mussels with a large spoon. Transfer the open mussels to a bowl. Strain cooking liquid over the mussels and serve with crusty bread. Try a Pinot Blanc or Muscadet to bring out the flavor.
Have fresh mussels shipped to your door, courtesy of LobsterAnywhere.com. Served in five-star restaurants around the world, mussels from the clean, cold waters of Prince Edward Island are acclaimed for their tender meat and incomparably rich flavor.