How to Cook Mussels: The Easiest Way

Once the author Jim Himes said, “I make a wicked clam chowdah, and linguine with clam sauce. Oysters I like to eat raw, and mussels in either a white wine sauce or in beer with paprika.”

Clearly, mussels are the most elegant seafood ever. You’ll find them under the most expensive food items on a menu card in a fancy restaurant.

A perfect dinner dish for a date! Isn’t it? But picture this, you want to have your dinner at home in a cozy environment. Will you switch your idea of eating mussels then?

Absolutely not! You can make delicious mussels at your home all by yourself. It doesn’t require any expensive ingredients and it’s pretty simple to cook too.

Check out our recipe below on how to cook mussels. We tried to provide the necessary details about mussels so that you know what you’re cooking.

Find Your Mussels Right

You can find mussels in all kinds of seafood stores. Try to purchase live mussels from low tanks and make sure they are in good shape. If they are sold on ice, make sure that they are not submerged in water so that they can breathe. Avoid smelly mussels. It can ruin your dish horribly.

One thing you should keep in mind that the shells of mussels must be tightly closed. If you find the shell open, tap on the counter, and see if it closes. A live mussel will close immediately. So, that’s how you spot a fresh mussel. By the way, don’t buy cracked shells. These are the signs that mussels are old and not handled properly. Try to keep them cold when you are on the way to your home. 

Wash Them Thoroughly

Before cooking the mussels, you need to clean them. Don’t do this in advance. Work with one mussel at a time. Rinse the shell under cool running water and scrub it gently to remove all the dirt and debris. Keep the bowl of the mussels aside, so you don’t fill the mussels with water.

While cleaning, you may see something that looks like hair in the mussel. This is the beard. You must remove it before cooking. To de-beard the mussels, grab the beard and pull it towards the tail. It will come out with a firm tug. If not, cut it with a pair of scissors as close as possible of the shells. Mussels need to breathe, so never cover them after cleaning or else, you’ll kill them. 

Store the Mussels Until Cooking

Mussels are living creatures. We always recommend buying live mussels and cooking them instantly. However, it’s okay to store up in the fridge for a few days.

While storing the mussels, place them in a big bowl so that it can hold all of them. Cover them with a towel. It will keep the mussels moist and protected. Then, put them in the fridge. Remember, never lid up the mussels while storing.

How to Cook Mussels 

Ingredients 

  • 3 to 4 pounds mussels
  • Two tablespoons olive oil/butter, or a mix of olive oil and butter
  • Two medium shallots, minced
  • Three cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine, amber beer, cider, or more broth
  • Minced parsley, to garnish
  • Lemon wedges, to garnish
  • Crusty bread, to serve

Equipment

  • Strainer
  • Measuring Cups
  • Saucepan with lid

Cooking Procedure

  • Sauté the shallots and garlic: Warm the butter or olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan (if you’re using butter, melt completely). Add the minced shallots and garlic in the saucepan. Sauté 1 to 2 minutes until the shallots are translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the mussels: Then, add all of the mussels into the pot.
  • Pour the broth and wine: Pour the broth and wine on the mussels.
  • Cover and cook: Now, cover over the pan with a lid. Let the mussels cook for 5 minutes. Shake the pan once or twice while it’s cooking with the lid on. It will help the mixture evenly distribute among the mussels. 
  • Check the mussels: Remove the lid after 5 minutes and check the mussels. All of them should be opened by now. If not, cover and cook over 1 to 2 minutes more. Discard any mussels that still haven’t opened by this time.
  • Serve the mussels: After the mussels are cooked perfectly, serve the them straight away in the pan or pour the mussels with the broth in a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped parsley and squeeze some lemon juice in it. A crusty bread aside will complement the whole dish. 

Side Dishes for Mussels

The classic and the most common pairing is mussels with French fries. Moules Frites (mussels and fries in French) go very well. Dip the fries in the mussels’ sauce and enjoy the dish.

Here are some famous fries’ recipes that go great with mussels:

  • Baked Parmesan Rosemary Shoestring Fries
  • Garlic Dill French Fries
  • Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  • Crispy Eggplant Fries

Mussels can be served with a side green salad. Here are some salad recipes given below that goes perfect with mussels:

  • Bacon Kale Caesar Salad
  • Crispy Kale Salad with Roasted Beets
  • Roasted Broccoli Salad with Lemons and Almonds
  • Asparagus Salad with Reduced Balsamic Vinegar
  • Arugula and Wild Rice Salad.

It won’t even take your time too much. So, why go to a restaurant? Get yourself buckled up to cook your date a scrumptious mussel’s dish that he/she will never forget.