Mussel Recipe # 1 May 25, 2009

Filed under: Meals — sotsil @ 9:52 am
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mussels6 Rich in selenium, zinc, folic acid and B12 vitamins, mussels are a personal favorite.  Last Saturday, I went to the supermarket’s seafood section and saw a huge crowd milling about.  “Don’t tell me they’ve raided the mussel bin already,” I mused. 

Upon closer look, I was relieved.  They were stuffing their plastic bags with live lobsters, plucking the creatures from six or seven large crates filled to the brim.

I approached the counter and asked if they had any mussels left.  “Lobsters?”  The young man asked.

I shook my head, “No, mussels.”  He gave me a funny look.  Here was an unruly crowd getting excited over lobsters and I’m asking for mussels.

“Over here.” The sales clerk pointed to an area behind him.  I spotted two lonely bags and I almost changed my mind.  I was worried that they had been there for some time, but the tag had an expiry date of about 3-4 days more so I grabbed one bag and headed for the cash.  I could almost taste the mussel broth that I enjoyed as a child back home.

Mulling Mussels

Fact # 1:  Mussels must be cooked upon purchase.  They will hold in the fridge for up to a week, but I would not wait that long.  I cook them the next day, at the very latest.

Fact # 2:  Most of the mussels we buy from seafood places are usually farmed, as opposed to wild but they will still smell “like the ocean”, as some writers put it.

Fact # 3:  Mussels have a “beard” sticking out of the shell.  This should be pulled out.  They must be rinsed in cold water, at least three or four times.  A good brushing is also recommended.

Fact # 4:  People steam their mussels to open them.  After that, they add their wine or make a sauce.

My favorite mussel recipe follows.  It’s a very basic recipe.  I don’t steam them; instead I add about 6 cups of water to make broth.  The taste is tangy and gingery.


1 bag of mussels -about 2-3 pounds – (make sure they are tightly closed when you buy them).

4 tbsp onions, chopped  

2-3 tbsp ginger, cut into thin julienne stripsmussels(a)

1-1/2 tbsp crushed garlic

5 tbsp oil (canola or vegetable)

6 cups of water

salt and pepper to taste



  1. Wash mussels thoroughly with cold water.  Remove the “beard.”  Give mussels a good brushing.
  2. Chop your onions, crush your garlic and cut ginger into thin strips.
  3. Heat oil for 2 minutes.  Put ginger, onions and garlic and sauté for about 3-4 minutes.  Lower heat if garlic begins to burn.
  4. Pour 6 cups water.  Allow to boil.  second set
  5. Add your mussels and cover pot.  Lower heat and let the mussels simmer (about 15-20 minutes).
  6. Open pot and inspect mussels.  They should be open by now.  Orange-colored flesh indicates mussel is female; a whiter tinge, male.
  7. Serve in a soup bowl.  You can garnish with parsley, but this isn’t necessary.

In my next blog, I’ll post mussel recipe # 2 –  Mussels Provencal.