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Steamed Mussels

I love Mussels a lot.  I could eat a whole pile of them as a meal all by themselves.  With Vermont being a land-locked state, I don’t gain access to them very often.  You can order them in restaurants, of course, but frequently the dish includes tomatoes and Chorizo.  I have nothing against either, but, to my way of thinking, tomatoes and Chorizo overpower the mussels; and why would anyone want to do that?  Mussels have a delicate but delicious flavor and I’m a purist and wanted to enjoy the mussels for what they are.  So instead, I opted for fresh herbs, lemon, and white wine.  The mussels are naturally salty, so you won’t need to add any more.  And keep that broth!  It’s loaded with flavor, flavor, flavor.  Don’t be a dumb ass like I was once by dumping all the broth down the sink.  The broth is part of the charm of the entire dish.  Sorry, Susannah.  I was cooking with wine again and probably should have put more of it in the food and less of it in me.

The Stuff You Need:

2 pounds of fresh Mussels, cleaned*

Chopped Onion, about 1/2 cup (Scallions or Shallots work well too)

1 clove Garlic (optional)

1/2 Cup Water

1/2 Cup White Wine

1/2 a Lemon

A few sprigs of fresh herbs, such as Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Dill, Bay leaf

Optional Garnish:  Chopped Parsley

Optional side dish:  Bread or pasta or rice for sopping up all that yummy broth.

Here's How It's Done:

  1. You will need a pot large enough to contain all your mussels with a little room to spare.
  2. Put the water and wine into your pot.  You can use all water, if you like, or an unsalted stock.
  3. Squeeze the lemon juice into the water and toss in the rind as well.
  4. Add your onions and garlic, if using.
  5. Add your fresh herbs.
  6. Cover the pot and put it on the stove over high heat.
  7. Once the water and wine has reached a boil, dump your mussels in (Everybody in the Pool!).  Turn down the heat to low and cover the pot.  Set the timer  for 5 minutes (there’s one on your phone, in case you didn’t know).
  8. After 5 minutes, check your mussels.  They are done as soon as the shells open.
  9. Remove the pot from the heat and place the mussels in a serving bowl with a slotted spoon.  Put another empty bowl on the table to collect the shells.  Discard any mussels that didn’t open.
  10. Fish out the herbs and lemon rind from your broth.  If you have a wire mesh sieve, you can use that to filter your broth.**
  11. Pour the filtered broth back over your mussels, garnish with the chopped parsley and serve.
  12. If you prepared pasta or rice, pour some or most of the broth over that.


*To clean your mussels, wash off as much dirt as possible and pull off the hairy “beards” around the edges.  Discard any with broken shells, especially if it smells off.

**A coffee filter can be used as well, but will take a little more time and your mussels are cooling as we speak.  It’s okay to consume the broth as is, just beware that it might be a little gritty.

If you have never had mussels before, you just pull them out of the shell with a fork or fingers, dip it into the broth (or melted butter) and enjoy.

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