Mussels are one of those dishes that, to me, seem strictly to be ordered at a restaurant. I don’t know why. Maybe it is because they are traditionally served with French Fries (and I have never made those at home). Or the fear of “scrubbing off the beards” of mussels always intimidated me. My psychological musings aside, it turns out making steamed mussels at home is one of the simplest dishes ever.
As for scrubbing the beards, the fishmonger had already taken care of that, and since these were farmed mussels (but in the ocean) I had little fear of grit. Happily, farmed mussels are the most sustainable type to eat, at least on the Pacific Coast, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Pocket Guide.
Buying them from a local fishmonger at a Farmers’ Market made it even more exciting! (fresh and local, how can you beat that!) I felt like a French housewife in Marseilles carrying home 2 lbs of black-n-blue mussels, already savoring which white wine I was going to use in the cooking of these lovelies. While it is a cliche, adding a salad and some French bread made this one of my favorite meals in a long time!
2 lbs mussels, beards scrubbed
1/2 onion, minced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 1/2 cups white wine (any wine you would drink)
1/4 cup minced parsley
In large stock pot saute onion and garlic in oil or butter until softened. Add wine and bring to boil. Add mussels and cover pot. Steam for 5-8 minutes until mussels open. Sprinkle parsley over shells and serve from pot.