Everything You Need to Know to Make Mussels at Home
Winter is the perfect season to enjoy a bowl of mussels in savory broth. These shellfish have a quarter of the calories of beef and are richer in nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium, zinc and folate. If eating healthy is on the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions, eating more mussels is a great idea. You can easily prepare a delicious bowl of mussels at home after stopping by our retail seafood counter in Wethersfield Connecticut.
If you like oyster and clams, you will love these bivalves. They have a similar flavor but are larger and softer than clams. For many people, the best part of eating a bowl of mussels is the savory broth. They produce a salty juice that tastes delicious with just a little butter or a splash of white wine.
The trickiest part of making mussels is knowing how to store them and picking out bad ones.
When you pick up mussels from your local seafood market, they should be fresh and alive. (Eating mussels that were dead before you cooked them can make you sick.) Their shells should have a bright sheen. They should also be unbroken and closed. If any of the shells are open, lightly squeeze and tap them. If the shell doesn’t close, throw it away. You should also throw away any mussels with broken shells.
As a general rule, you should order one pound of mussels per person.
Mussels should be cooked the same day that you buy them. If you don’t prepare them right away, transfer them to a bowl and store them in the coolest part of your refrigerator with wet newspaper or wet towel loosely covering them. Be sure to cook them within 24 hours.
The most popular way to cook mussels is to steam them.
How to Steam Mussels
- Prep the mussels by scrubbing them under cold, running water. Then remove any “beards” or silky threads on them. The best way to remove a mussel’s beard is by pulling it down, towards the hinge, and out. You can also cut it off if it is especially stubborn.
- Throw away the beards along with any broken mussels.
- Pour enough white wine, water or broth into a large saucepan to cover the bottom (1 to 2 cups at most). Since mussels release a lot of juices while they cook, you don’t need very much liquid. Then, if you’d like, add seasoning to enhance the flavor of the broth. Many people enjoy mussels cooked in white wine with garlic roasted in butter and a dash of pepper. Make sure not to add much salt, if any, since mussels’ juices are salty.
- Add the mussels to the pan, cover and cook over high heat.
- Once the liquid is boiling and the pan is steaming, reduce the heat and simmer.
- Shake the pan lightly a few times to move the mussels around so that each one cooks evenly.
- Remove each mussel once it opens. Most mussels will open after about 5 minutes simmering.
- If there are any mussels that don’t open, throw those ones away.
- Serve the mussels in a bowl of broth with bread or fries.
You’ll feel like a chef when you master making mussels with these 9 simple steps. For the freshest mussels in Connecticut, stop by City Fish Market. All of our mussels are sustainably raised.