Muscling your way through mussels ain’t a thang.
Looking to find a way through that hard, tough exterior and into that soft, tender inside? We’re not talking about your crush, silly. Mussels have a bad rep in terms of prep work, but it’s actually not that hard to create a dish that’s super delish with these bad boys.
First off, you gotta be extra picky when buying your shellfish - the friendly fishmonger behind the counter should be selecting those who’s shells are closed or do close with a little tap. Typically bagged and sealed, it’s important to open that right up when you get home so they can breathe.
And when it comes to preparing these little babies, the amount of work depends on the type that you’ve bought. If you got a bag of fresh wild mussels, you might need some extra elbow grease – bring out the steel brush and start scrubbing under cold running water. Farm-raised mussels, on the other hand, are typically cleaner. All you need is to get rid of their beards, and no, you don’t need a razor. Simply pinch the beard or byssus (if you want to be fancy and scientific-y) between your fingers and give it a sharp yank towards the hinge end of the mussel. Once the beard is removed, clean it up under cold running water to remove any remaining sand or debris.
Is it cooking time yet? Sure is!
If you’ve never cooked with this kind of shellfish before, you might want to start with what’s perhaps the easiest and most popular mussel dish - moules marinière (it’s French and pronounced mool mah-reen-yeh – don’t butcher it when trying to impress your friends!). You basically cook the mussels in white wine, some light seasoning and serve with fresh French bread for dipping. Pair with wine that’s left over, if there’s any…