Mussels have been nicknamed “the poor man’s oyster.” They are an excellent source of protein, low in calories and fat, contain a number of vitamins and minerals and are easily digested. Not to mention they are inexpensive too! Mussels are immensely popular in Europe, particularly France and Spain and gaining notoriety right here in the USA.
Like oysters, mussels have been considered as a natural aphrodisiac for centuries (like most foods from the sea). Mussels and oysters are similar in that they are both bivalve mollusks, soft tissue creatures with two hinged parts to their protective shell.
There are many delicious ways to prepare oysters, but are most popular served raw. Mussels, on the other hand, can be eaten raw, but are most popular served steamed, fried, stewed, boiled or poached. Mussels are such versatile creatures, they can be seasoned in variety of ways with or without alcohol, and with fresh ingredients like tomatoes and parsley, to name a few.
Steamed mussels were my first introduction into the mysterious world of shellfish. I remember they were served in a savory broth made of white wine, garlic, butter and thyme. Which I mopped up with warm crusty bread. For me, the experience was utterly sublime. I have adored mussels since! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this recipe will be a fabulous choice for a delectable romantic dinner for two. It’s flavor can be enhanced when paired with a bottle of crisp white wine such as sauvignon blanc, or a bubbly champagne.
Prep time: 15 min Cook time: 10 min Ready in: 25 min
- 2 tbsps of butter
- 1/4 cup of shallots, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 cup of dry white wine (like pinot grigio)
- 3 pounds of mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1/2 cup of fresh thyme
- ground black pepper, to taste
- In a medium stock pot, heat butter over medium heat, add shallots and garlic, saute until translucent.
- Pour in wine and mussels. Raise heat to medium/ high and steam mussels until shells open, about 3- 5 minutes. Discard any unopened shells.
- Pour mussels and cooking liquid into a serving bowl, sprinkle with thyme and freshly grounded black pepper. Serve immediately with warm, crusty French or Italian bread (for dipping purposes).
Makes 4 servings
For tips on buying mussels, visit this informative site: www.hub-uk.com/cooking/tipsmussels.htm