Archive for the 'Mussels' Category

How to Buy and Cook Mussels

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.

steamed mussels How to Buy and Cook 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
lemon juice
Garlic Clove
1/2 cup white wine
parsley sprigs

Cooking Mussels:
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 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.

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New England’s Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives

Is your favorite lobster shack shacky and weathered and in a fairly remote place near the ocean? Or, perhaps it is tacky and reminds you of a roadside hut.

Most shacks are a “no-frills” family establishments with a simple menu, and almost always have long lines in peak summer months. Some shacks have become tourist destinations and others have become tourist traps with over the top prices. Lobster and seafood shacks are symbols of summer and a few are beacons of the past. Many of us have nostalgic childhood memories of a trip to a favorite lobster shack.

Lobster shacks can be off the main path or right on the Main Street. Some shacks have seaside views, while others have no views at all. Lobster shacks at out of the way locations are usually off narrow roads or routes that can become crowded with traffic jams in the warm weather. Familiar surroundings for lobster shacks are rocky beaches with a view of the harbor, fishermen’s boats and sea gulls, or maybe a forested cove. Perhaps you wish to combine a shopping trip to LL Bean or Kittery shops with a side trip to a Lobster Shack in the area. Often the shacks are shuttered from October to April in the cooler weather, so catch them when they are open in the spring and summer.

Don’t dress up because you will most likely be eating on a pier at a picnic table. Usually, there is no indoor seating, but the views waiting for a lobster dinner can be spectacular. It is cool in Maine, so bring a sweater and enjoy the finest lobster ever. How can you resist since the freshest lobster thrives in New England waters where it is caught, and then it is cooked in a Lobster Shack and brought to your table. When the lobster is served, be prepared to crack it open on a paper plate and dine al fresco on bare wooden tables. Many of the unassuming shacks are BYOB, so don’t forget to bring a cooler.

The star attraction of these eateries is lobster served in the rough: a whole lobster cooked plain and simple. The typical lobster size served is usually between 1 1/4 pounds to 1 1/2 pounds, but some lobster shacks offer a pound. Lobster fishermen deliver and store their fresh catch in large seawater filled tanks. Shacks with lobster pounds are typically larger with more seating. If cooking live lobster at home makes you squeamish, this is a great alternative. Expect a messy meal and no side orders except some chowder or a bag of chips. More spacious places may feature lobster dinners served with corn cobs, onion rings or chowder. Or, you may want to order a lobster roll instead with mayonnaise and butter on a fresh roll with crisp lettuce.

In addition to fresh lobster, many seafood eateries serve fried, steamed or baked seafood. The deep-fryer is often the most over-worked piece of equipment at the shack. Clams, haddock, fries and onions rings are given a quick, hot dip. Next to fresh cooked lobster and lobster rolls, the fried clams hold a special appeal for New Englanders and it is a contentious debate about the best fried clams place in New England. Fried clams are said to have been invented in 1916, by Chubby Woodman in Essex, Massachusetts.

Here are some wonderful Lobster Shacksdotted across New England that are well worth your time when planning a day trip or a stop in the area:

Bagaduce Lunch
19 Bridge Road
Brooksville, ME 04617

Bagaduce was established in 1946, and is a family tradition tucked away next to the reversing falls on the Bagaduce River. Locals come from miles away for fresh haddock, fried clams, crab and lobster rolls. The owner’s brother is a local lobsterman, so count on getting the freshest caught lobster. Be sure to order the onion rings and watch for bald eagles soaring overhead.

Beal’s Lobster Pier
182 Clark Point Road
Southwest Harbor, ME 04679-441

Eat fresh lobster on a working wharf next to a Coast Guard base overlooking Southwest Harbor. Sit outside at picnic tables, drink beer, and casually eat fresh seafood.

FiveIslands Lobster Company
1447 Five Islands Rd, Georgetown, ME

This is “as good as lobster gets”at a shack on the harbor edge overlooking rocky shores and lobster boats. Seating is open on the dock.

Perry’s Lobster Shack
1076 Newbury Neck Road
Surry, ME

Perry’s is run by Perry and his wife Beverly. The lobster shack is on the side of Newbury Neck Road, with stairs leading to the town beach. Perry’s menu is simple, with fresh lobster, mussels, and corn on the cob. Enjoy a lobster roll on one of the three picnic tables on the pier and be sure to order homemade ice cream sandwiches.

Watermans 300x225 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood DivesWaterman’s Beach Lobster
343 Waterman Beach Road
South Thomaston, ME 04858-3325

This establishment is a winner of the James Beard restaurant award and a model of a great New England lobster shack. Sit outside at picnic tables, order lobsters, and eat them on paper plates. Try the ginger ice cream: it is wonderful with blueberry pie!


Roy Moore Lobster Company

RoyMooreLobster 200x300 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives

Photo by Mike Carey

39 Bearskin Neck
Rockport, MA 01966

Roy Moore’s is a local institution founded in1918, located on the docks of Rockport’s Bearskin Neck. It is good lobster bargain, with smoked salmon, fishcakes, clam chowder, and lobster on the menu. Seating is in tight quarters with crates used as seating out back.

Sesuit Harbor Cafe
357 Sesuit Neck Rd
Dennis, MA 02638
(508) 385-6134


This is on our list of shacks because it is a real deal for a scenic seafood spot located in a boat yard and marina, with Cape Cod style. Customers sit at picnic tables on the channel between Sesuit Harbor and Cape Cod Bay and observe the boats traveling in and out of the dock.

The BiteThe Bite 300x199 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives
29 Basin Road
Menemsha, MA 02552

The Bite is a tiny seafood stand in the fishing village of Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard and serves fried- to-order clams, scallops and oysters.

New Hampshire

Petey’s Summertime Seafood & Bar
1323 Ocean Blvd
Rye, NH 03870

Petey’s is a “seafood shack” located between Hampton and Portsmouth, NH, across the beach from an old shipwreck with public beach access. It has a second-floor deck that has great views and a postage- sized parking lot.Petey’s serves lobster rolls on a bulkyroll. Try the baked haddock with lobster stuffing or the seafood chowder.

Rhode Island

Evelyn’s Drive In

evelyns hq1 300x199 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives

Photo by Mark Saleski

2335 Main Road
Tiverton, RI 02878
(401) 624-3100

Evelyn’s Drive In has been serving fresh, local seafood since 1969. Evelyn’s is a half clam shack, half small, sit-down restaurant. Order a bowl of Rhody chowder, a couple of stuffies, and a sumptuous lobster roll, and be sure to try the delicious Lobster Chow.

The Country Chowder Shack
101 Old Hartford Pike
North Scituate, RI 02857

Don’t drive all the way to the beach to get some decent seafood. This Rhode Island “hidden gem” Chowder Shack may be a last chance to taste Rhode Island-style red chowder before you drive to Connecticut. Country Chowder also has white chowder, stuffies, clam cakes, and hot wieners. The Chowder Shack is open from March 19th through October 31st. You can’t see the ocean from the Country Chowder Shack, but you can taste it.


johny ads 300x225 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood DivesJohnny Ads Drive In
910 Boston Post Rd.
Old Saybrook, CT

Step back into to the 1950’s at Johnny Ads, where fried seafood and hot buttery lobster rolls never go out of style. Mainers even say they make a “damn good lobster roll.” Don’t miss with the great Hummel Brothers hot dogs served on buttered “square” rolls with crinkle fries. The Rhode Island clam chowder is top notch.

banner3 250x250 animated New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood DivesCan’t get to your favorite seafood shack this summer? Give LobsterAnywhere a try. You do not  need  GPS for directions, bug spray, or gas money for a road trip. This lobster company has been shipping Maine lobster and fresh seafood gifts since 1999. Order lobster and select your delivery date at online check out.

Feel free to send us a picture of your favorite Lobster Shack that you would recommend to a friend.

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Fresh Mussels

Mussels grow in waters around the world. Here in New England you’ll find the Northern Blue Mussel, also called P.E.I. mussels (from Prince Edward Island, CA).  A long kept secret of New England fisherman, the black mussel continues to gain in popularity as a delicious alternative to the traditional steamed clam. Mussels are a bivalve shellfish that measures from two to three inches in length. The shell is primarily a blackish color with bluish highlights. Best enjoyed steamed with a little melted garlic butter.  Fresh mussels are also great in soups, sauces and pastas.

How can you tell the difference  between wild and cultured mussels? Wild mussels, which are a dull bluish color with white erosion marks, usually have seaweed or barnacles attached. Cultured mussels have shiny bluish-black shells, free of barnacles and seaweed. What’s more, with cultivated mussels there is really no need to scrub the mussel with a stiff brush or remove the beard (bysssal threads) of the clams.

Mussels give you muscles! A 6 oz portion of cooked blue mussels contains 40g of protein and only 294 calories. An equal portion of steak contains four times more calories and eighteen times more fat. Fresh mussels are also rich in iron, manganese, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, vitamins C and B12 and more essential Omega-3 fatty acids than any other shellfish.

Buy Fresh Mussels

Buy your fresh mussels from a busy fish market with lots of turnover. Look for the tag to see when and where the mussels were harvested. Shellfish purveyors are required by law to keep all tags for 90 days. Don’t hesitate to ask for the tag. If the tag is not available don’t buy the mussels!

You should always buy fresh mussels in a mesh bag. Some seafood markets will sell them in plastic bags- stay clear from these mussels! Mussels need to breathe (see storing mussels below). Take a whiff.

Mussels should smell clean and briny like the ocean. Never buy mussels that are cracked, chipped or broken. If any mussels are open, test them to make sure they’re alive. If gaping slightly, they should close if you tap on the shell. If any don’t close, discard them.

There are approximately 12-15 mussels per pound. Serve a ½ pound of mussels per person as a first course and 1 ½ to 3/4 lbs as a main course.

Storing Fresh Mussels

You can safely refrigerate mussels for 4-6 days. To store live mussels in the shell, refrigerate in a shallow bowl in the bottom shelf of your refrigerator and cover with a damp cloth or paper towel to prevent them from drying out.  DO NOT store mussels in a plastic bag or air tight container. They will suffocate! Also avoid letting them sit in fresh water. The less mussels are disturbed, the longer they will remain alive; therefore, the time to clean them is just before cooking.

Mussels are a cinch to eat. All you need is a small fork and simply remove the meat from the shell,  and dip the meat in the broth. Enjoy with your favorite wine! Try a Pinot Blanc or Muscadet to bring out their flavor. Visit our friends at East Coast Gourmet for a classic recipe for steaming mussels.

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