Favorite mussel preparations
November 30, 2015 1:40 PM   Subscribe

I just steamed mussels at home for the first time and was blown away by how easy it was. What are your favorite preparations for mussels?

Mussels have always been a favorite food but I was always too intimidated to make them at home. But then last night I just made these coconut lemongrass mussels, subbing in mussels for clams, and realized that in fact they are so incredibly easy and fast to make at home.

I'm aware of course of moules marinières -- my first mussels love -- but I'd love to get some more mussels recipes! I'm a pretty adventurous eater so nothing is really off the table and I live in NYC so I can get most ingredients fairly easy (I have a well-stocked Chinese and Thai pantry but I welcome flavors from everywhere).
posted by andrewesque to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Saute chopped onion and smoked, chopped bacon in a load of butter, add 1 bottle dry cider (the alcoholic kind) and a few sprigs of fresh thyme, add mussels, lid on, few minutes till they're mostly open, serve with crusty baguette or sourdough and more butter for absorbing the liquid and a spoon to get at the bits of bacon.
posted by cilantro at 1:44 PM on November 30, 2015

1. Scrub the green crud off the mussels.
2. Place in pot with a stick of butter, a cup or two of white wine, and four or five smashed garlic cloves.
3. Simmer with lid on until they open up.
4. Eat with crusty bread.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:47 PM on November 30, 2015 [5 favorites]

Recently I was making a moules marinières, but then decided to do something different, and added a bit of chili to the basic sofritto, and saffron, then cream when the mussels were almost ready. Enough chili to give it a bite, but not enough to make it hot.
posted by mumimor at 1:52 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thinly sliced Fennel, some Shallot, Garlic, White Wine, Butter, + Curry Powder.... finish with a little Heavy Cream if you want.

You will want to bathe in the resulting broth. Definitely have bread on hand, Mmmmmm!
posted by jbenben at 1:56 PM on November 30, 2015

(Edit - if it's not clear - sweat the fennel, shallot garlic and curry powder in the butter... add mussels and white wine, cover until they open... add heavy cream if you want ;))
posted by jbenben at 1:59 PM on November 30, 2015

I almost never order Zuppa di Mussels when I go out, because they never beat my own, which is this:

Crisp up some small cubes of bacon, speck, pork belly, or anything of that nature. In the fat rendered from that, sautee some shallots, garlic, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Deglaze with some prosecco and the juice of a lemon or lime depending on mood. Steam the mussels in that, and serve with good bread.

I was slightly ashamed of my prosecco secret until I had mussels at a very nice local, high-end restaurant that actually beat mine. As near as I could tell, they did exactly what I did, but theirs had an edge on mine. When I got to see the kitchen, I saw what the difference was sitting in a corner. Franzia Chablis. I don't even know where to find Franzia Chablis, but I feel vindicated about my cheap wine secrets.
posted by cmoj at 1:59 PM on November 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Mussels in Saffron Cream

Serves 6 as an appetizer or two for dinner or one very hungry mussel lover.

2 large shallots
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 pounds cleaned mussels
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup heavy cream

Chop the shallots and combine with wine in a large saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat. Add the mussels and steam for about 3 minutes (until they open) Move the mussels to bowls and keep warm.

Strain the mussel liquid making sure to get the grit out of the bottom of the pan. Rinse the pan and return the liquid to the pan. Add the saffron and cream. Boil over high heat until the sauce thickens. Stir constantly.

Pour over mussels and devour. Have bread to soak up the sauce.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:09 PM on November 30, 2015

This soup is a bit of work but it might be some of the best soup you ever tasted. That's dry spanish chorizo, not the fresh mexican variety.

Mussels love chorizo in general so you could also just render some chorizo with your aromatics and steam them like you have been.
posted by ftm at 2:13 PM on November 30, 2015

Mussels Marinara

Two cans of organic Italian diced tomatoes in a sauce pan, add roughly one tablespoon of red wine vinegar and one teaspoon sugar. Bring that to a simmer.

In a large stainless pot, sautee in olive oil, two cloves of chopped elephant garlic and a package of chopped fresh basil, four stalks of celery and a half teaspoon of celery seed. Chop the celery in one inch side slash cuts. You can add butter if you like but you need about 1/4 cup of which ever fat you prefer. You can use black pepper if you like that, a few grinds, or a coupla shakes of Tabasco.

Once the big pot is hot and sauteeing, throw in two pounds of scrubbed mussels. Lid the pot, when the mussels open, pour in 3/4 cup of good chardonnay. Stir lightly only once to distribute the wine. Give it a minute or two, then pour the simmering tomatoes over everything in the pot. Give one more careful stir. Lid it for a minute more or two. Serve in bowls with crusty bread, have grated parmesan for those who like it. Have olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the bread if people want it.

Generally this recipe is one can of tomatoes per pound, you could say 1/2 cup wine per pound, the quantity of fresh basil is 1/4 cup crudely chopped per pound of mussels.

This soup is the best thing, it reheats well, as long as it is refrigerated within an hour or so.
posted by Oyéah at 2:57 PM on November 30, 2015

Don't overlook simply steaming them and eating them plain, served with good bread and good butter. It's how my Belgian mother always prepared them and it's still my favorite preparation. Nothing but mmm-mussel. (And the funnest way to eat them is using an empty shell as a pair of tongs.)
posted by Room 641-A at 3:02 PM on November 30, 2015

Cook them in the following:

Sautee a chopped onion and a few cloves of smashed garlic.
Throw in some julienned carrots and chopped ginger (chop it big so it's easy to avoid later) and cook a couple mins.
Add in:
1 can of coconut milk
Juice of 3 limes
Big splash of white wine or broth
A few shakes of sriracha or other hot sauce
Big shake of salt
Couple pinches of sugar

Steam the mussels in that deliciousness.

So delicious! Soak up the coconut milk with fresh baguette. Good enough for a dinner party!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:14 PM on November 30, 2015

The best mussels I've ever had were at À Côté restaurant in Oakland. Here's the recipe, found in a SF Chronicle article from 2002:


This is the sort of dish Matt Colgan serves at A Cote. Mussels can have different cooking times. Pulling them out of the pot as they open ensures they won't overcook. The mussels will release salty brine when they open, making additional salt unnecessary.


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1 pound live mussels, well scrubbed
2 tablespoons Pernod, or other anise-flavored liqueur
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon


Choose a skillet or heavy pot large enough to hold the mussels. The smaller the surface area, the better. Put the pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, shallots, garlic and optional pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic begins to turn golden.

Add the mussels and toss them in the oil. Add the Pernod, wine and cream. Cover and steam until the mussels open. Be careful not to cook them too quickly. As the mussels begin to open, pick them out with tongs and place in a serving bowl. Discard any mussels that do not open.

Taste the cooking liquid for salt. Adjust seasoning, then pour over the mussels. Top with the tarragon.

Pass a basket of crusty bread for dipping.

Serves 2 to 4 as an appetizer.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 3:22 PM on November 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm a fan of this preparation with Mexican chorizo and chiles... You can also sub beer for the white wine - go with something fairly light and not too hoppy.
posted by jenquat at 4:01 PM on November 30, 2015

Moules frites (mussels with fries) is SO good. I've done it with curry powder and it blew my mind, you could do any of the recipes above really. Here's a recipe, though I don't think it's necessary to fry the chips, I usually do Smitten Kitchen's oven fries recipe.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 4:03 PM on November 30, 2015

Mussels and fries with a nice Belgian beer is 1. One of the very few ways I will drink beer 2. A gift from the universe to us all 3. Stupid easy, as long as you are cool with frozen oven fries.

If you are not cool with frozen oven fries, cut a potato up into thin wedges, sprinkle with salt and oil, and roast them in the oven at 400 until crispy and they easily release from the baking vessel.

All you do with your mussels is clean them. Get a pot big enough for them all and put enough salted water in to cover the bottom and come up maybe half an inch maximum. If you want you can sub some of the liquid for beer or wine or clam juice or shrimp stock but honestly water makes your mussels taste clean and bright. Put a pat of butter in there and smash a couple cloves of garlic, dump those in. Get the water simmering and put in your mussels. Cover and steam until they open.

If you want to get fancy at this point you can make a dipping sauce with fresh mayo and garlic, which can be made with varying levels of complexity from great grandma's hand-pounded aoli made with eggs you got from your hens in the backyard to squeezing some garlic in a tube into a little hellman's and stirring. I like to take some regular mayo from my fridge and doctor it up with really good olive oil, a little salt, and a garlic clove passed through my garlic press or minced really fine if I don't want to wash the press. Or you can use ketchup, you heathen.

When the mussels are open, spoon them into a bowl and pour the broth over top of them. Eat your fries/potato wedges by dipping them into the broth and/or the garlic mayo, do the same with the mussels. Drink beer, be merry.
posted by Mizu at 4:30 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Tons of great recipes in here, but one thing missing in several of them: once you've sauteed or sweated your base and added your alcohol, let that boil at high heat for ~3-5 minutes to let some of the booze cook off. Otherwise your mussels may taste like they have the wine sweats, and that's not good.
posted by Aizkolari at 4:36 PM on November 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ina Garten's recipe for mussels in white wine is fabulous. I substitute chopped tomatoes, and add red pepper flakes. Serve with lemon slices and crusty bread.

Adding the recommended saffron yields a taste much like paella. Omitting the saffron - which is extraordinarily expensive - will produce a subtler taste of shallots, wine, and fresh herbs. Tasty either way.
posted by kiki_s at 4:55 PM on November 30, 2015

These are two of my favorites:
posted by mon-ma-tron at 7:26 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

My wife makes em with bleu cheese & that shit is awesome.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:30 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I do a basic mussels in white wine:
1 minced shallot
2 cloves minced garlic
3T butter
1C dry white wine
1-2C chicken broth

melt butter in a large pot, add shallot and garlic, sweat until transparent, add wine and broth, dump in mussels, slap on a lid and turn the heat to high until they've opened. Serve with crusty bread and garnished with herbs.

Mussels fra diavolo are also wonderful, but my kids (who love the white wine treatment) would balk at that.
posted by plinth at 2:38 AM on December 1, 2015

I discovered Mussels in Roquefort sauce a few years ago in France, and couldn't believe how magnificent the combination of blue cheese and seafood was! Good recipe here: http://www.roquefort-vernieres.fr/en/gastronomie/recettes/item/65-moules-au-roquefort.html
posted by travellingincognito at 5:47 AM on December 1, 2015

My go-to is the BBQ. Pre-heat to 450F and throw the mussels in.

Give them 5 minutes or so. Toss with melted butter and lemon.

The smokiness is amazing.
posted by lukez at 8:06 AM on December 1, 2015

« Older Does anyone sell Lenovo Y500 motherboards? Am I...   |   Gift Soup for the Chicken Lover's Soul? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.