Mussels. How to cook mussels.

Once upon a time, mussels were thought to be a poor man’s food because they cost less than their “sisters” oysters, but nowadays they are a highly regarded delicacy. Many different dishes are made from this seafood – you can try them in restaurants or cook them yourself at home. In every shopping center you should easily find fresh or frozen mussels.

wine or other liquid, for example, broth, water or a mixture thereof;
spices (herbs, spices, etc., to your taste).

How to cook mussels at home.

Buy mussels from a reputable store. Buy only live mussels; look for tightly closed shells. Discard any mussels that opened before you brought them home.

Rinse them with cold running water. Scrape any remaining algae, dirt, etc. off the shells.

Pull out the fibrous beard.

Take a large saucepan. Pour in about 2,5 inch (XNUMX cm) of water, broth, wine, or a mixture. Also, add spices such as garlic or parsley to your taste. The classic recipe for steamed mussels involves wine and spices.

Add the mussels to the liquid and cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, until most of them have opened. You will be able to open the remaining shells with a knife (be careful!). There is a myth that all unopened mussels must be thrown away. During research for an Australian seafood service company, fisheries biologist Nick Ruello discovered that properly cooked, sealed mussels are safe to eat.

Tips for cooking mussels.

A popular recipe for cooking mussels is moules à la marinière. It is necessary to lightly fry chopped onions in butter, then add mussels and a spoonful of flour to thicken the sauce, white wine (something cheap, say Sauvignon Blanc) and cook. Add chopped parsley to the prepared mussels.

Make a sauce of butter and lemon and pour it over the mussels. You can also add some feta cheese and dip French bread into the sauce.

Useful properties of mussels.

Mussels are not only famous for their delicate taste, but also for their useful substances. They contain a lot of proteins, mineral salts, phosphorus, iron and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C. According to nutritionists, there are even more proteins in mussel meat than in veal or fish meat.

In addition, despite the fact that there are so many different useful substances in mussel meat, it is low in calories, so those who watch their body lines can enjoy this seafood. Mussel meat, as a dietary product, is recommended for those who complain of atherosclerosis, diabetes, anemia, as well as the elderly.

How to cook mussels.

Mussels are most often sold fresh or processed – peeled, boiled, frozen or canned. If you bought live, not cleaned mussels, first wash them well in running water, use a sharp knife to clean the shells from adhering dirt, remains of aquatic plants, etc.

After all, mussels grow for 18 months, and during this time the shells are covered with sand and silt. It will be unpleasant to feel the crunch of sand on your teeth after cooking this delicacy. By the way, you can also use a toothbrush to clean sinks. It is also necessary to tear off the so-called “beards” located at the junction of the sashes.

Another important point is to check whether the mussels are alive. This is done in this way. You need to immerse the mussels in cold water and hold for 20 minutes. Good, i.e. alive, mussels must sink. If they float on the surface, then something is wrong with them, it is better to throw them away.

Another feature is that good mussels should have their shells closed. If the shells are slightly open, you can tap them and they should close immediately. If they do not close, you can also safely throw these mussels away. After all the mussels are washed and selected, you can start cooking.

By the way, seafood does not like to wait long, it should be prepared as soon as possible, while it is fresh (best of all, on the day of purchase). You can still eat them the next day, but you will have to throw them away the day after tomorrow. Mussels should be kept in the refrigerator until cooking.

Mussels are served in different ways. They can be cleaned (without shells) – only meat is served, especially if mussels are combined with other products or prepared as a sauce. It is very popular to serve mussels as they are, without changes – in the shells. Then everyone takes them with their hands, holds the shell with one hand, and scrapes the meat with a fork with the other hand. Mussels in shells are added to soups – they improve the taste of the broth.

Preparing mussels is easy and simple. The most popular way is to extinguish in water or in white wine with seasonings (garlic, lemon, parsley, bay leaf). It is not necessary to pour a lot of water or wine into the pan, only to the very bottom, because there is quite a lot of water in the shells, which is released during cooking.

Mussels don’t take long to cook – it only takes a couple of minutes on high heat for the shells to open (which means the mussels are ready). By the way, if some shells did not open during cooking, they can also be eaten.

Fresh mussels, like oysters, can be eaten uncooked by adding lemon juice. But it is better to leave this method of eating this wonderful seafood to gourmets, we still recommend cooking them. Or cook on the grill. It’s also very tasty. The principle is the same – fry until the shells open.

If you bought frozen mussels, all you need to do is thaw them at room temperature or in warm water, rinse them under running water and that’s it. After that, you can prepare your dish. Most likely, your frozen mussels will already be cooked, so there is no need to do anything.

Combinations with other products.

Mussels are often used to prepare various soups, the basis of which can be a broth made from these molluscs. When preparing mussels for snacks, salads or second courses, some chefs recommend holding them for 15-20 minutes in a closed pan, in which you should pour some water and milk along with chopped onions, allspice and bay leaves. Professional chefs are happy that the meat of these seafood is perfectly combined with other products, vegetables, and non-fat mayonnaise.

By frying mussels with various additives, for example, vegetables, various cereals – rice, couscous, seasonings, tomato sauce, etc., you can prepare many dishes – from the simplest to the most elaborate. For example, the Spanish, when preparing their famous paella, very rarely do without mussels. Sometimes mussels are served with shells already in the finished dish — thus adding more exoticism to the dish, and sometimes only the meat itself is used.

A little information about mussels.

Mussels, like oysters, belong to the bivalve mollusc family. They are especially common in the shallow coastal waters of the ocean, where these molluscs grow attached to rocks.

A necessary condition for the life of mussels is clean and not stagnant water. Nowadays, mussels are grown on special farms. This, of course, is not like a traditional farm: poles are dug in the coastal zone of the sea, to which ropes are tied. It is on these ropes, at a depth of 2-5 meters, that mussels grow.

According to some sources, this interesting and not complicated process was invented by Irish sailors in 1234, according to others, by the French. People engaged in artificial cultivation of mussels are not located in any one region – they are scattered all over the world. True, most mussels are grown by the Spanish, and New Zealand also exports a significant amount of this seafood. Currently, about 1,4 million tons of mussels are grown worldwide per year.

In order for mussels to reach the right size and become suitable for food consumption, they have to grow for about 18 months, so the process is not very fast. Mussel shells come in a variety of colors, from dark blue to golden green. But on special farms, only dark blue or black mussels are usually grown, as they have a delicate taste, they are moderately salty and sweet. The best mussels are collected from mid-June to the end of February, and those collected in April and May are not fat enough and therefore not so tasty.

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