Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mussel Feast!

The first time I ate mussels was when I lived in France as a high school student; garlic, butter, and white wine sauce, using the empty shell of the first mussel eaten to pinch out the next exotic culinary experience for this Inlander! They're hard to come by in land-locked rural Ontario.

However, my mother-in-law's beau works in a restaurant that has an annual seafood feast; the owner's brother drives down to PEI and picks up fresh lobsters, mussels, etc. and drives them back here FAST. Anything left over is distributed amongst the staff, which is how I ended up with 12 pounds of fresh, needing-to-be-eaten NOW mussels.

Mussels are supposed to be alive when you steam them; this is a bit grisly, I know. As you pick through them, you keep the closed ones to eat. Any that are open need a firm TAP: if they close up, they're edible. If they don't, toss 'em. The keepers then need to be de-bearded and cleaned (scrape off any hairy bits and/or barnacles!). This job took about an hour...not a task to be left till the last minute!
Here's a sauce recipe for 1-2 pounds of mussels.

Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute one chopped onion and 2 cloves minced garlic till translucent. Add 1.5 cups dry white wine and a pinch of cayenne pepper, and heat through. Add mussels, and stir to coat. Cover and steam for 5 minutes. Stir again, then cover and steam for 5 more minutes. When the majority of the mussels are opened up, they're done! This takes about 10-15 minutes. You can add fresh parsley or basil as a garnish.

Serve over fettucine with lots of crusty bread (to soak up the sauce!!), and a simple green salad.

Make sure to place an empty bowl on the table for empty shells AND any mussels that didn't open with steaming; they should be tossed, too. We built a found object sculpture that we dubbed "MusselHenge". Mussels are a great social dinner...a messy, hands-on kind of meal, to be shared with good friends who don't mind really getting into their food!


  1. Okay yummy, AND I don't even eat meat!!!!! HhHahaha, no really, it looked like you all had a fun and yummy meal, as you k now at this stage of pregnancy all food looks yummy!!!!

    Do your kids eat the muscles too?


  2. Oh wow, I love mussels! They taste so good with a garlic sauce! Now that we have gone in a raw direction with our eating, I am not sure when we will eat them again. Your recipe looks wonderful and I will bookmark it for a day not too far in the future to make mussels:)

  3. Love the sculpture! Your photos are great and the mussels look yummers!

  4. When I lived on the East Coast we used to have a weekly girls night out at a local sea food restaurant...all you can eat mussels...every week! Yum!!!
    (my friend always called them "vaginas in a shell"...I can't seem to get that out of my head every time I eat a mussel...but I still love them)!
    xo hope you're feeling better

  5. oh wow..that feast looks so yummy! i love good seafood and this looks so delicious. when we lived in humboldt county we'd have and oyster feed every year for my birthday. your pics remind me of that time..:)

    thanks so much for checking out my blog. i am super good friends with nicole over at frontier dreams and so happy you found me through her. i just love that girl and her little ones..:)

    i am now following you as well AND adding you to my blogroll because i think i need to keep checking in on your little cyber looks so peaceful....thank you for sharing...:)


  6. we used to do an "all you can eat for 9.99 mussel night at Red Canoe on Friday nights....delicious and almost bankrupted us!!! People can eat a lot of mussels.
    Trying to figure out "mother-inlaw's beau"..that would be Ambrose at the Tavern!!! right?


This space is a creative outlet for a busy mama; I warmly embrace your comments and feedback, as well as questions/requests for details. I do check them daily and will respond where appropriate! Thank you for visiting the Knitty Gritty Homestead!