Steamed Mussels

June 26, 2024
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By: Tom Morrone

I admit, I am a foodie. There are many good things to eat and so little time to try them all. On the same token, when you find a food that you like, it is certainly a good thing to eat it repeatedly. One of those food items for me are steamed mussels. First, seafood is always at the top of my list when thinking of what to eat. That does not mean that is always what I get because sometimes you need to have a burger, pasta, a steak, pizza, chicken or whatever else tickles your fancy at any given moment. Then there is the seasonality of food. Nothing beats a caprese salad in the summer with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, a slice of mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Sounds good or what? Some foods are fun to make which brings me back to steamed mussels.

Cooking seafood, especially steaming mussels, can leave a nasty smell in the house. Therefore, I prefer this tasty treat to be a summertime experience where all the cooking is on the gas grill, outside of harms way of creating unwanted odors that can linger for days in the house. For those of you that enjoy mussels, I will share with you my process and whether you attempt to try it or not, that is up to you. First you need to get the mussels and I usually buy more than a ½ of a pound per person. Do not forget to thoroughly wash them at home. Once washed, put the mussels into the strainer basket and put aside. Sand sticks to the mussels so do not forget this step or your broth will be full of the gritty stuff. More on the broth later.

There are two ways that I have steamed mussels on the grill. One way is in an aluminum foil lasagna dish directly on the grilling surface. The second and my preferable way is on the side burner in a steaming pot with the built in drainer basket. The ingredients are the same, it is just the process that differs. The aluminum foil pan makes for an easy clean up, throw the sucker away. Anyway, I pour two cups of your white wine of choice into the pot, I happen to use a sauvignon blanc. I add about a stick of butter, a teaspoon of chopped garlic, some finely chopped onion, a squeeze of some lemon and some fresh ground pepper. Place the basket with the mussels into the pot and put on the burner on high. After about 10 minutes or so, the butter will have melted, and the onions will begin to caramelize. Every once and a while, pick up the pot and swish the liquid around so it mixes thoroughly. Move the mussels around as well so they cook evenly. Eventually the mussels will steam open after they have cooked. When they have all opened it is time to eat.

Remember the broth? When the mussels have all opened, dish them into a large bowl. Make sure you have another large bowl for the discarded shells. Pour the broth from the bottom of the pot into a couple of small bowls. This broth is the best part of the mussels’ experience. The last ingredient for this great appetizer is a loaf of crusty Italian bready for dipping in the broth. This can be better than the mussels and one loaf of bread may not be enough.

There are so many great summer recipes that can be enjoyed year-round but sometimes eating outside makes the food taste just a little better. If there is any wine left over, pour a glass and enjoy it with the mussels and a piece of bread. It is a beautiful thing.

Hopefully, you attempt this if you want to be a little adventurous or if you have your own recipe, enjoy. The best food is the food you share with friends and family. Life is good!

Until the next Tom’s take……………………..

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