Help a midwestern girl with her (frozen) mussels.
September 29, 2016 1:02 PM   Subscribe

I'm a good cook, but not very confident with seafood as the seafood selection convenient to me are not very appealing. However, the independent supermarket near me is having a sale on frozen mussels this weekend and they look tempting. Are they worth it? What should I make with them, if I do buy them?
posted by sarajane to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I buy these all the time here in the Midwest, and I find them to be an excellent substitute for flying to the coast. They're better than the mussels we had at Legal Seafood in Boston ten years ago, which really isn't saying much, but no, these are pretty good. I just dump them into a pot, throw in a half cup of whatever white wine I'm abusing that evening and steam them according to the directions on the box. Served in a communal bowl with a nice crusty bread and yum! I've also thrown them into a paella when I'm feeling particularly ambitious. I've never tried the ones with the tomato and garlic, but the butter and garlic ones are always in my freezer.
posted by Floydd at 1:34 PM on September 29, 2016

Best answer: Mussels are awesome! I'm not entirely sure how worth it frozen ones are, although I've heard they do freeze well and if you're not worried about your grocery budget this week I say give them a try.

Here is a super easy mussel recipe.

White wine
Parsley or some other fresh green herb

Clean the mussels (your frozen ones might come pre-cleaned?) I don't know if you'd need to thaw them or not if you start with frozen, but I'm sure I've done it with "previously frozen" mussels in the past so letting them thaw in the fridge overnight or running under cold water will probably let you cook them without overcooking them, which is how you can get chewy, rubbery, or crumbly mussels.

Mince up a shallot and a few cloves of garlic. Cook with a little butter in the bottom of a large pot on medium heat until they turn translucent. (If you don't have a shallot you can use onions and do a little extra garlic.) Season with a generous sprinkling of salt. Pour in like two cups of wine/half a bottle, make sure it's a wine that you think is tasty to drink, but you don't have to spend $$$ on it. Bring it all up to a simmer and let it reduce for about five minutes.

Add the mussels. Put on the lid and bring it back up to a simmer. Cook for about five minutes. You'll see all the mussels opening up. You really shouldn't cook them much past them opening up, they should be tender. And remember, the heat will carry over and continue cooking them after you take them off the burner.

Turn off the heat, and stir in minced parsley and a nice knob of butter. Scoop the mussels out into a large bowl and pour the broth all over them. Eat with good crusty bread for dipping and a crunchy salad.
posted by Mizu at 1:34 PM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yup, Floydd's directions would be fine but Mizu is correct that butter and garlic/shallots/parsley will make it even better.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:45 PM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If they're the boxed frozen type then they already have garlic and butter in 'em. Not that more garlic and butter wouldn't make 'em better....
posted by Floydd at 1:49 PM on September 29, 2016

Response by poster: OMG - Thanks! I was hoping I could do the garlic + wine route, but was dubious. We are in for mussel-y goodness!
posted by sarajane at 1:49 PM on September 29, 2016

Best answer: Honestly for any future seafood experiments you can do the garlic + wine route. Shrimp, crab, clams, scallops, snails... Fish too, like haddock or cod, even stronger ones like salmon or trout, just roast in a dish and add breadcrumbs on top. It's a great base and will let you taste the main ingredient really well without being boring, so you can figure out which things you really like (and thus consider worth the landbound cost.)
posted by Mizu at 2:12 PM on September 29, 2016

I don't eat seafood anymore, but when I did I would stick them into miso soup. I was never disappointed.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 2:14 PM on September 29, 2016

Stuff them Turkish street-food style
posted by Theiform at 2:22 PM on September 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh if you can find it, try fennel with the shallots. Amazing!
posted by corb at 2:26 PM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I went to an AMAZING pub in Washington DC that specializes in mussels and had a great meal of mussels cooked in Three Philosophers beer, caramelized shallots, duck fat, and thyme.

If your first white wine based experiment goes well, check out their menu for more exotic inspiration!
posted by asphericalcow at 10:52 PM on September 29, 2016

Best answer: It's also easy and delicious to make mussels de zuppa. Just make a slightly thinner marinara sauce (tomatoe based with onions, garlic...whatever floats your boat). Toss in the mussels at the end and leve them until they're completely warm. Serve on your favorite pasta. My favorite!!
posted by txmon at 12:37 PM on September 30, 2016

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