There will always be a special place in my heart for a steaming bowl of fresh mussels with crusty bread for dipping. While living in Chicago, mussels at HopLeaf became a perfect excuse for impromptu gatherings with friends. Even in my current city of Pittsburgh, there are times when my cravings for curry and coconut steamed mussels prepared at Park Brugge are just too intense to resist. It also doesn’t hurt the restaurant is only 5 minutes from my house.
Preparing mussels at home has been a point of concern for several years. I worried they would never live up to the restaurant experiences of the past. Or worst yet, having my cooking techniques result in a mouthful of sand and grit. After researching various processes for preparation, including PEIMussels.com, I realized they weren’t nearly as problematic as originally thought. In fact, it’s really quite easy and even more flavorful!
- 4-5 lbs. mussels
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 Tbl. olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 Tbl. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 cup chicken broth, low-sodium
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
- Small handful of chopped parsley
- 2 Tbl. unsalted butter
- Soak the mussels in a large bowl of cold water and flour. Discard any broken shells or any that will not close when tapped. Drain, rinse with cold water and brush away any debris. Remove the “beard” or brown tab typically found on the side of the shell.
- Add the olive oil to a large stock pot. Sauté the shallots, garlic and fresh thyme over a medium high flame for 1-2 minutes. Carefully add the wine, lemon juice, chicken broth and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Add the mussels and cover with a lid.
- Steam the mussels for 5-8 minutes or until the shells open. Add the tomatoes and butter. Cover and gently shake the pot to allow the tomatoes to incorporate into the mixture.
- Steam the mussels for one additional minute. Discard any shells that did not open. Sprinkle with the fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread for dipping in the liquid.