The great thing about mussels is that they are easy to make - and you can adapt the recipe according to what is in your kitchen.
Buying and storing mussels:
Look for tightly-shut shells, or those that snap shut when tapped. Avoid broken or cracked shells. Keep mussels in the refrigerator and use them within a day. A good way to store them is in a colander (placed inside a larger bowl), covered with a clean, moistened dish towel.
- About 3 to 4 pounds of fresh blue mussels
- A few cloves of garlic (use as much as you like)
- Approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- About 1-1/2 cups liquid—use chicken broth, wine, or half broth & half wine
- Chopped onion (about 1/2 cup will do)
- A tablespoon or two of lemon juice (or squeeze in the juice from half a lemon)
- A teaspoon or two of your favorite dried herbs
or use chopped fresh parsley, thyme, or other fresh herb.
Start by scrubbing the mussels lightly with a vegetable brush to remove any sand. If there are threads on the shells, remove them by tugging with your fingers. Then soak them in cold water for a few minutes, making sure all the shells are closed. If any are open, try tapping them to see if they'll close. Discard any that remain open.
Sauté some garlic and an onion (if we have it) with olive oil in a large skillet. Then, pour in the liquid (some white wine, or organic chicken broth or both). It's nice to add parsley, thyme, or a squeeze of lemon if you have them on hand.
Bring to a boil and then reduce slightly to a moderately high heat. Add the mussels, cover, and simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. You know that the mussels are done when most open up. Discard any that fail to open after 8 minutes. (Be sure to not overcook the mussels or they could become tough.)
Make some linguine and complete the meal with some fresh bread and a salad. "One big bucket in the middle of the table for everyone's shells is part of the fun.".
Toss the shells in. "Sometimes we miss, or have to take long shots from across the table."