This is my favorite beach house or summer vacation recipe. It’s inexpensive, quick to make, yet feels indulgent and fancy. You can customize the broth to your liking or whatever you find in the pantry.
It’s even relatively healthy (mussels are really high in selenium). You can make a big pot, warm up some bread, and throw together a green salad in less than 30 minutes. Perfect after a long day in the sun.
Just avoid a few common mistakes and this recipe will have looking like a 5-star chef.
1. Gotta clean them
Run them under cold water. If there’s a furry beard, pull it out and cut it off with kitchen shears or a paring knife. Most important, discard any that don’t close when tapped (gently) against the counter.
2. Don’t skimp on the sauce
You could in theory just steam the mussels in their own liquid but then what would you do with the bread? Use your imagination and build up a base. It will both add flavor to the mussels and also give you a great tasting way to eat that bread.
3. Don’t boil them
A rolling boil is not the way to cook mussels, not ones that taste good, at least. You are looking for a good simmer. Low and slow is almost as bad as the rolling boil. Use a big pot, the wider and bigger the better. The more the mussels are stacked up the longer they will take to cook.
4. Keep the lid on
You’re going to need to stir the mussels. Try to do it just once or twice to minimize the loss of hot steam. A quick stir about halfway through and then get the lid back on.
5. One final check
You threw out some duds when you were cleaning the mussels but some might have slipped through the cracks. Pick through the cooked mussels and if any mussel failed to open after steaming, discard.