The great thing about mussels
(apart from the fact they’re delicious and relatively inexpensive) is that they’re easy to cook. They’re also highly versatile, so you can use a number of different techniques to cook them and they can be incorporated into any number of different dishes.
Before we learn how to cook mussels, let’s figure out how to clean them.
How to Clean Mussels
Usually, when you purchase mussels, they won’t have been cleaned yet. In order to cook them at their best, you should remove all dirt and sand. But first, discard any mussels that are not shut tightly, since they may be dead and thus unsafe to eat. Soak the mussels in clean, cold water for around half an hour. While submerged, the mussels should breathe and filter the water, expelling any unwanted dirt or sand. You can also remove any of the brown hairs or beards from the mussels by pulling them off with your fingers. Remove the mussels and place them in a different container of clean water. Be careful not transfer any dirt from the first container into the second.
Now remove the mussels from the water one by one, and remove any sand or dirt on the surface of shell using a brush or cloth. Rinse each mussel off under a cool-running faucet, then dry it and place it aside, ready to be used in your dish. Cook immediately.
How to Steam Mussels
Steaming is an excellent way to cook mussels, since it encourages the mussels to open up and release their own flavorful juices, mixing with the water and creating a delicious broth. First, simmer 2 or 3 cups of flavorful liquid, such as white wine with herbs, or water with chicken broth, garlic and ginger, in a pot.
Add your cleaned mussels to the pot, cover, and turn the heat to high. When steam starts to emerge, change the heat to medium. When 5 minutes have passed, redistribute the mussels by shaking the pot carefully. Keep cooking until most (if not all) of the mussels have opened, checking periodically. When ready, discard any mussels that have refused to open, and serve the opened ones in bowls. Pour the broth from the pot over the mussels, adding some butter for added lusciousness. Serve the mussels with bread for soaking up the sauce. Yum!
How to Grill Mussels
Clean your grill and set it to medium high heat, and lather the grill surface with oil or onion juice. Place your cleaned mussels on the grill in rows and grill them until they open. Throw away any mussels that refuse to open, and transfer the open ones onto a plate. In a pot, melt some butter with chopped garlic and parsley, plus some ground chili pepper if you want some added spice. Pour this butter mixture over the mussels, along with any other added seasonings. Serve with lemon wedges and a side of your choice.