There’s a point when you’re making mussels for dinner where it becomes undeniably obvious that you are in fact preparing a live animal for consumption. That point most likely occurs during the “cleaning and de-bearding” stage – which, let’s be clear, is made worse by the use of the word “de-bearding” – when the mussels can get protective of their little beardy bits (seriously, what the hell are those, anyway?) and pull them back inside their shells.
Don’t freak out. This is perfectly normal self preservation behavior for a live animal about to become a tasty tasty snack. Says the former vegetarian.
I’d never prepared mussels at home, but our family’s love of all things mollusk is well documented (though we prefer them sans starfish, thank you very much). This weekend, inspired by San Francisco’s crab season (totally a thing) I went a little seafood crazy at the market. In addition to dungeness crabs, I also picked up 5 lbs of mussels.
Five pounds? you say. That sounds like a lot.
Oh yeah. It is.
I opted to go the traditional white wine route, adding tomatoes, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley, like you do. It made for a lovely presentation.
Coupled with crusty bread for sauce sopping, I’d say this was a pretty successful first attempt at making mussels in the comfort of my own kitchen. We didn’t actually finish all 5 lbs, by the way. Not that you can tell from the carnage below.
But now Avi has an enviable lunch of leftovers to take to school, and I have conquered one aspect of a previously intimidating cooking category.
What should be next?