How to Cook Mussels

Five Methods:Preparing the MusselsSteamed MusselsGrilled MusselsRoasted MusselsSautéed Mussels

Mussels are a tasty shellfish that can be steamed, boiled, grilled, roasted, or cooked in a variety of other ways. They taste great on their own, paired with french fries or crusty bread, or mixed into a seafood dish. If you want to know how to cook mussels, just follow these steps.

  • Prep time (Steamed): 20-30 minutes
  • Cook time: 6-8 minutes
  • Total time: 26-38 minutes

Method 1
Preparing the Mussels

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    Buy the freshest mussels. Purchase mussels from a market you trust. You must only buy live mussels; look for shells that are tightly closed. Discard any mussels that have opened upon taking them out at home, or any mussels with cracked shells. Remember that any mussels that do not open after you cook them should be discarded -- this means that they were already dead before you started cooking them.
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    Rinse them under cold running water. Scrub the shells to remove any seaweed, dirt or other particles lodged on the shell. Rinse each shell individually, trying to remove as many of the stringy parts as you can.
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    Pull out the stringy beard. To debeard each mussel, just pinch the beard with your thumb and index finder and use a side to side motion to firmly tug it out. The beard isn't harmful and it is edible, just not particularly tasty, so don't fret if you can't debeard all of the mussels. Some of the mussels may have already had their beards removed, so don't worry if not every mussel has a beard. You can also use a knife to cut off the beard.[1]

Method 2
Steamed Mussels

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    Gather your ingredients. Here's what you need to make steamed mussels:
    • 4 lbs. mussels
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 minced shallot
    • 2 cloves shaved garlic
    • 4 springs fresh thyme
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1 juiced lemon
    • 1 cup chicken broth
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    Pour the stock and spices into a large stock pot. Pour 1/2 cup of dry white wine, 2 and 1 cup of chicken stock into the pot. Sauté 1 minced shallot, 2 shaved garlic cloves, and 4 sprigs of fresh thyme in 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a separate pan for 2-3 minutes and then add them to the pot.[2]
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    Add the mussels to the liquid and steam them over medium heat for 6-8 minutes. Add 4 lbs. of mussels to the pot and steam them until most of them have opened up. Remove any of the mussels that remained closed.
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    Strain and reserve the liquid.
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    Serve. Serve the steamed mussels with a lemon wedge and pour as much of the liquid over them as you like. You can also pair them with some french fries or crusty bread.

Method 3
Grilled Mussels

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    Gather your ingredients. Here's what you need to make grilled mussels:
    • 3 lbs. mussels, rinsed and scrubbed
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    • 3 tbsp. chopped parsley
    • 2 halved lemons
    • Salt to taste
    • Pepper to taste
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    Heat a grill over medium high heat. Clean and lightly oil the grill. [3]
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    Melt the butter over medium heat in small pot. Heat and then remove 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter from the heat and stir in 3 tbsp. of chopped parsley. Set the butter and parsley mixture aside.
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    Place 3 lbs. of rinsed and scrubbed muscles on the grill in a single layer. Complete this process in batches if you can't fit all of the mussels on the grill in a single layer.
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    Place 2 halved and lightly oiled lemons on the grill. Place them on the grill cut-side down.
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    Grill the mussels for about 5 minutes, until they open. At this point, the lemons should be warmed and browned.
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    Transfer the opened mussels to a large platter. Use tongs to do this. Throw away any mussels that don't open -- that means they weren't alive when they started cooking.
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    Pour the herb butter over the mussels. Then, sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste.
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    Serve. Serve these delicious grilled mussels with the lemons and enjoy them while they're warm.

Method 4
Roasted Mussels

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    Gather your ingredients. Here's what you need to make roasted mussels:
    • 2 lbs. fresh blue mussels, debearded and rinsed
    • 2 oz. whole almonds
    • 3 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. minced shallots
    • 2 minced garlic cloves
    • 6 tbsp. dry white wine
    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. chopped parsley
    • 1/4 tsp. chopped thyme leaves
    • 1 tbsp. chopped chervil leaves
    • Sea salt to taste
    • Pepper to taste
    • Crusty bread for serving
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    Preheat your oven to 400ºF (204ºC).[4]
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    Roast the whole almonds. Spread 2 oz. of whole almonds evenly on a baking sheet. Transfer the sheet to the oven and roast the almonds until they're fragrant, for about five minutes.
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    Chop the almonds. Let them cool and them chop them by hand or use a food processor to chop them.
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    Place a 5 1/4 quart nonreactive cast-iron roasting pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. of butter to the pan and cook until it's melted, for at least 30 seconds.
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    Add the shallots and garlic. Add 1 1/2 tbsp. of minced shallots and 2 minced garlic cloves to the butter and cook them until they're translucent, for 2-3 minutes.
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    Add the wine and lemon juice and bring them to a boil. Add 6 tbsp. of dry white wine and 1 tbsp. of lemon juice to the pan and remove it from heat as soon as they boil.
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    Add the herbs and almonds to the pan. Add 1 1/2 tbsp. of chopped parsley, 1/4 tsp. of chopped thyme leaves, and 1 tbsp. chopped chervil leaves to the pan along with salt and pepper to taste.
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    Increase the oven temperature to 450ºF (232ºC).
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    Arrange the mussels in the roasting pan. Arrange 2 lbs. of fresh blue mussels that have been de-bearded and rinsed in no more than two even layers in the roasting pan.
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    Place the remaining 2.5 tbsp. of butter over the mussels. Cut the butter into several pieces to spread it out evenly over the mussels.
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    Roast the mussels until they've opened. Toss the mussels to coat every 3-4 minutes, until the mussels have opened up and the sauce is nice and creamy.
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    Serve. Serve these roasted mussels immediately on their own or with some bread for dipping.

Method 5
Sautéed Mussels

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    Gather your ingredients. Here's what you'll need to make sauteéd mussels:
    • 3 lbs. small mussels
    • 5 minced cloves garlic
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 2 oz. chopped mint
    • 2 oz. basil
    • 3/4 oz. scallions
    • 1 diced red bell pepper
    • 1 tbsp. Asian fish sauce
    • 1 tbsp. canola oil
    • Pepper to taste
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    Scrub, wash, and debeard the mussels. Drain them well after washing them.[5]
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    Cut 3/4 oz. of scallions into 1-inch slices.
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    Julienne 1 red bell pepper. Cut the pepper into thin strips.
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    Mix the fish sauce, sugar, and peppercorns together. Mix 1 tbsp. of Asian fish sauce, 1 tbsp. of sugar, and black pepper to taste.
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    Sauté 5 minced cloves of garlic in 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet for 30 seconds over high heat.
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    Add 3 lbs. of small mussels to the skillet and stir-fry them for 3-5 minutes, until the shells start to open.
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    Stir in the fish sauce mixture and continue cooking until all of the mussels have opened. If any mussels did not open, throw them out.
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    Add the mint, basil, scallions, and red pepper strips and continue to stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Stir fry 2 oz. of chopped mint, 2 oz. of basil, 3/4 oz. of scallions, and 1 diced red bell pepper long enough to combine the ingredients with the mussels.
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    Serve. Serve the mussels over jasmine rice or enjoy them on their own.

Tips

  • Make a butter white wine and lemon sauce, and pour that all over the mussels, perhaps sprinkle on some feta cheese, get a nice loaf of French bread for dipping and you will be in heaven.
  • One popular mussels recipe is moules à la marinière. It consists in first making chopped shallot to "sweat" in butter, then to add mussels and a spoon of flour (this will make the sauce thicker), add white wine (such as any cheap Sauvignon blanc) then cook. Once cooked, add chopped parsley.

Warnings

  • If you collect mussels rather than purchase them, make sure you know for sure that the waters are unpolluted. This is very important as mussels that grow in polluted waters can cause food poisoning.

Things You'll Need

  • Steaming pot
  • Strainer for liquid
  • Bowl

Article Info

Categories: Fish and Seafood