Some of my favorite things about creating recipes is when I can incorporate good, relatively inexpensive ingredients, the prep doesn’t take too long, it’s low in calories and you can take the pot/dish from the oven/stove right to the table. Oh, and there are virtually no leftovers at my house.
Steamed mussels check all the boxes for me. Mussels are usually sold in a two-pound mesh bag at the fish counter and they can last in your refrigerator for a day if you put them in the coldest part of your fridge. Prices can vary but a two pound bag runs less than $5.00 in my grocery store. The other great thing about mussels is they are healthy! Per serving, they are on par with Salmon for omega-3 which is great for heart health and inflammation reduction. They are also high in protein with a single serving clocking in around 20 grams. But the best thing about mussels is they are delicious. I am partial to the classic French preparation of steaming them with wine, butter and herbs but they are remarkably versatile. I like to add some cherry tomatoes for a punch of color and sweetness, but you could add more of your favorite ingredients to the liquid before you add the mussels…chorizo, red sauce, more herbs.
Once they are cooked and you lift the lid, it’s like magic. The smell is intoxicating, and you can’t get the pot on the table fast enough but discard any that didn’t open. A crusty loaf of bread, or sometimes I toast some slices under broiler with a little olive oil too, is key to sop up every bit of that delicious liquid. A simple salad, a glass of wine and a steaming pot of mussels is a great meal. Enjoy!
2 pounds fresh mussels
1/2 cup flour
3 medium shallots
2 tbs. olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes (any color)
1 cup white wine
1/2 tsp salt and hot pepper flakes to taste
loaf of crusty bread
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Put the mussels in the fridge till your ready to cook them. I usually make them the day I buy them but they are good for a day or two in a bowl in a cold part of your fridge.
When you are ready, put the mussels in a bowl of water with ½ c of flour and mix. Let the mussels sit for about 10 minutes so they can eat the flower and spit the sand out. Move the mussels to a separate bowl by removing them carefully with a slotted spoon – do not to pour them out so the sand stays in the bowl. Check to see if you need to pull off the “beards” (fibrous material that secures the mussels while they grows) off the sides with a paper towel, but these days mussels come clean these days. If there are any broken ones, discard. If there are any broken shells, discard them. Set aside.
Slice the shallots into rings and cook in olive oil on medium till translucent. (about 5 minutes). Add salt and if you like it spicy, some red pepper flakes (I’m married to Captain Vanilla so no go here) and the cherry tomatoes. When cooked and the tomatoes start to pop, add a cup or so (more or less!) of white wine (make sure it’s something you would drink) and then the mussels. Cover and cook on medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Shake the pot once or twice but dont remove the cover.
To serve, put the pot on the table with a loaf of crusty bread and dig in. These are great over pasta too. (if there are any that didn’t open, discard.)