Mussels are a favorite of mine; chances are, if they are on the menu somewhere, I'll be ordering them. A lot of people don't try mussels at home because at first glance they seem intimidating. I'm here to let you in on a little secret, they really aren't. Most of the time in cooking mussels really is during the prep. The other night, I grabbed a bag at the grocery store and cooked them up in some Old Meck Copper, served with crusty bread (it's all about the bread) and had a lovely meal with Scott. It's definitely something worth trying and I'm going to be walking you through it.
Mussel Selection: Mussels fall into the category of seafood that you actually cook alive. The key to a good mussel dish actually starts with selecting fresh mussels. This means your mussels should be stored on ice at the establishment that you are purchasing them. They should look moist and not dry.
Mussel Prep: Discard all mussels that are chipped, cracked or open. These are all signs that the mussel is actually dead and no good to eat. Place the good mussels in a bowl of fresh water to filter out any residual sand and grit. Remove mussels from water, scrub shell and de-beard. If beard is still attached, de-bearding involves pulling the remaining tassel towards the hinge of the mussel. You might have to give it a solid tug. Discard beard once removed.
+ 1/2 stick (1/4 c) butter
+ 1 medium onion, chopped
+ 2 stalks of celery, diced
+ 1 c drained canned diced tomatoes
+ 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
+ 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
+ 1 bay leaf
+ 1/2 tsp salt
+ 1/4 tsp black pepper
+ 2 c lager (I used Old Meck Copper)
+ 2 lbs mussels, scrubbed well and beards removed
+ 1 tbsp dijon mustard
+ 2 tbsp heavy cream
Heat butter in a wide, heavy pot over medium heat until fully melted. Add onion, celery, tomatoes, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, & pepper, stirring occasionally, until soften (approximately 4 minutes).
Add beer & bring to boil. Add mussels & cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until mussels open (approximately 4-6 minutes). Transfer to a bowl as they open and discard any mussels that are still closed after 6 minutes. Remove pot from heat & stir together mustard & cream in a small bowl. Whisk into the hot broth let in pot. Serve sauce over mussels.
- Bon appetit!