‘Mussel’ up to a bowl of bivalves this fall

Mussels with french fries and white wine in cooking pan. Grey background. Close up. Top view.Fall is the ideal time to serve up mussels with slices of crusty bread and crispy fries or tatters, and white wine makes a flavorful broth.

Since improvements in aquaculture have made farmed shellfish affordable and safe to consume year-round, the old adage that you should only eat oysters in months that end in R is no longer true. However, mussels are best enjoyed in the fall because they are such a delicious bivalve.

You’ll find the plumpest and most tasty mussels as the temperature cools off since they mature later in the year, following spring and summer spawning.

Mussels are a high-omega-3 fatty acid, low-fat, and calorie source of protein. Think about it this way, said Joshua Stoll, associate professor at the University of Maine’s school of marine sciences and cofounder of the Local Catch Network: “Mussels take about as long to cook as a hot dog but have more than twice as much protein as well as a varied array of micronutrients.

Delicious blue mussels in a spicy thai red curry sauce.Blue mussels are featured in a spicy thai red curry sauce. Mussels are a low-fat, low-calorie source of protein that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

In addition to being inexpensive and commonly available, farmed mussels are a sustainable seafood option. By removing contaminants from the water around them, “Mussels are filter feeders, so they actually help keep the environment healthy,” explained Stoll. In addition, compared to other farmed protein products like beef, lamb, and pork, mussels dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s time to make mussels at home if you’ve only ever had them in a bowl at a restaurant. Here’s how to fill up this autumn.

How to prepare mussels

Keep in mind that mussels are alive before cooking and must continue to breathe until they are placed in the pan. Even if you plan to eat the mussels soon, remove them from any bags they came in right away to preserve them in this condition.

While you don’t need to keep your mussels on ice to prepare them, you do need to keep them cool. My preferred technique entails carefully pouring the mussels into a sizable colander, which is then placed inside a sizable bowl. The mussels are kept cool in this manner without being submerged in water, which would kill them. Place the mussels in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours with a moist dish towel gently covering them.

Before you purchase bagged mussels from the seafood counter, they have already received a quick washing, but you still need to give them a good scrub to get rid of any grit. Even though it doesn’t take long, I swear this is the aspect of preparing mussels at home that is the most challenging.

woman cleaning mussels in the kitchen at home before cooking them. seafood and ocean food conceptA good scrub is necessary to remove any remaining grit on the mussels. Scrub them gently with a vegetable brush or an old toothbrush under cool running water

Gently scrub the mussels one at a time in cool running water using a vegetable brush or an old toothbrush, then transfer to a colander to let the extra water drain. Each mussel shell needs to be firmly shut. If you come across one with an open shell, smack it lightly on the sink’s side or the counter. Discard it since the mussel is already dead if it doesn’t close in a short period of time. Discard any mussels you see that have fractured shells right away.

Additionally, you might see some grassy fuzz protruding from the lip where the mussel’s two shells converge. This is the beard, and it can be taken off easily. Simply seize the threads and tug to free the beard from inside the shells. It’s a section of the bivalve that can be eaten, so don’t worry if a few little fragments are left.

If you’re not going to prepare and consume your mussels right away, preserve them using the colander method described above until you’re ready to utilize them.

How to cook mussels

Steaming mussels is easy, unlike shucking oysters, which requires some effort and ability. In actuality, you may cook them with just plain water. But if mussels don’t have flavoring added, what’s the joy in that?

The enjoyment begins at that point. You can alter the fundamental ratio listed below with different ingredients to alter the flavor profile of your mussels each time you prepare them. (Note: This method also works with clams in addition to mussels. If you’re game, prepare two batches of both bivalves.)

It’s at that point that the fun starts. To change the flavor profile of your mussels every time you prepare them, adjust the basic ratios given below with various additions. (Note: In addition to mussels, this technique also works with clams. Prepare two batches of each of the bivalves if you feel up to it.)

Waiter in an apron carries an order on a dish in a restaurant. Served grilled steak with vegetables on the board. Service in the restaurantFarmed mussels are affordable and widely available, and they also make a sustainable seafood choice.

To prepare, warm the butter or olive oil over medium-low heat in a sizable Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot. Then pour in the liquid, turn the heat up to medium, and bring to a simmer after cooking the aromatics for 3–4 minutes or until they begin to soften.

When all the mussels have opened, add the cleaned mussels, cover the saucepan, and cook for around 8 to 10 minutes. Throw away any mussels that are stubbornly refusing to open to avoid food poisoning. Please refrain from eating them.

Serve alongside slices of toasted crusty bread, homemade crispy fries, or baked frozen potatoes. Nothing to judge here.

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