Thinking about cooking restaurant quality mussels at home? Bellow are a few things you will need to know before you start cooking and cleaning mussels.
The majority of mussels you’ll find available are farm-raised, which is good news when it comes to cleaning them! Wild mussels can be full of sand and debris; farm-raised mussels arrive pretty clean. Still, you’ll want to give them a rinse before cooking them.
When you get home look over the mussels, make sure that their shells are tightly closed, that’s a good sign of freshness. Found any mussels with open shells? Lightly tap that mussel against the side of the sink. If the mussel closes up again in response, it’s alive, if it doesn’t move, discard it.
If you are not going to cook them immediately, place them in the fridge to keep them cool and, ideally, cook them the same day you bought them. The sooner, the fresher!
Place the mussels in a bowl in the sink and run water over them. Let them rest in the water for about 15 minutes. During this time the mussels will filter water in and out of their shells as they breathe. Soaking encourages them to expel any sand or debris remaining inside.
Using your hands or a clean scrubbing brush rub off any debris like seaweed, sand, barnacles, or mud spots that could be on the shell.
If you find some mussels with a clump of hair-like fibers that sprouts from the shell, that is called the “beard”. To remove the beard from the mussels, grab it with your thumb and forefinger and tug it toward the hinge of the mussel shell. You can also use a knife to gently scrape away the beard.
Once your mussels are cleaned and debearded, they’re ready to cook and eat!
Try them steamed in your favorite sauce!
Mussels are mild in flavor which makes them the perfect shellfish to combine with a whole lot of palate of flavors. White wine sauce, tomato sauce, saffron, or a good herbaceous sauce of parsley and garlic.
But must importantly, don’t forget the bread! You will need the bread for dipping into the sauce and absorbing all the juices, this will get you a mouthful of flavor. You can even use the mussels shells as a spoon for scooping up the sauce. All we ask of you is that you don’t let the remaining sauce go to waist!