Thursday, June 24, 2010
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!