Friday, June 13, 2014

Life Changing Mussels

The name of this recipe is different from the title of this post. Life changing mussels is the name I gave them after I tried this dish for the first time. They're that good. :)

The following is the content from an email I wrote to my sister about making this mussels dish. I had never made mussels before. I was a little nervous about dealing with live critters, but I did some research and found all the info I needed. Yay Internet! If you already know how to deal with live shellfish, then you'll probably just need the link to the recipe (first link below). For those of you, like me, who are newbies to this, read on...

OK, as I write this I'm realizing all the research I did because I wanted to make sure to do it right. I learned a ton. I know there's a lot here. Just go over everything until you have a pretty good picture of how it all fits together. It's really pretty simple, but there is kind of a lot of prep. Worth it though!

Here's the link to the recipe. OR look for a copy of the recipe below.

Notes on the recipe itself... of course, use butter NOT margarine. Use fresh garlic cloves. I recommend Green Fin white table wine from TJ's $3.99. I found a video for a different mussels recipe that was helpful for the prep. The main points were to only use the white and light parts of the green onion. He shows a nifty way to prep the parsley. Here's the video: .

I personally found it was super helpful to have everything chopped, measured and ready to go before I started any cooking. It works pretty well to do the chopping while the mussels are soaking. Do the garlic first. Remember to get a nice crusty bread! :)

The stuff to know about mussels that I learned elsewhere...

Make the recipe the day you buy the mussels. Don't wait, even if someone tells you it's OK. Ignore them.

Store them in the fridge when you get them home, but make sure to take them out of any plastic bag so they don't suffocate.

In the middle of this blog post is a good description of how to check if mussels are alive...

This bit from another article I found is helpful for preparing the mussels:
"scrub the mussels under cold, running water and remove the beards (the bristly material sticking out from one side) by pulling down toward the hinge of the shell and outward. Use a towel for leverage -- mussels hold onto their beards pretty tightly so you might find yourself wrestling with them." --This was actually much easier than they make it sound.

The full article is here:

I think that's everything. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

UPDATE: Here's the prep process I've found works well to make things go smoothly...

  1. Crush and chop the garlic and put in one bowl
  2. Chop the green onion and tomatoes and put in a second bowl
  3. Chop the parsley and put it, with the butter, in a third bowl.
  4. Pour one cup of wine to have ready to go
  5. Begin checking and soaking the mussels
  6. Slice the bread
  7. Start up the oven for the bread
  8. Start heating up the pot for the mussels recipe
  9. From here follow the recipe as written

Here's a copy of the recipe (from

50 fresh mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter

3 green onions, chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
3 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
   salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place mussels in a large bowl with cold water to cover. Let them soak for about 20 minutes to remove any dirt or sand.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and saute for one minute, but do not brown. Add the chopped green onion and tomatoes, and cook until almost tender. Pour in the white wine, and stir in the parsley and butter. Bring to a boil, and allow to boil until the liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the mussels to the pot, cover and allow to cook until the shells are opened, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mussels and sauce to a large serving bowl, discarding any unopened shells. Bon appetit!

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