Mussels have finally made their mark and people of all social classes are taking delight in gathering their own bounty, whether from the sea or the market place. With so many different people experimenting with what mussels have to offer, it’s understandable why there are just as many unique ways to prepare them.
Mussels are particularly abundant along the Atlantic Coast and are gathered in the harbor of it’s seaports. Most of today’s mussels are “cultivated”. This cultivation process entails placing oak poles in long rows about three feet apart in areas where the mussels are exposed at low tide. This process allows the mussels to be thinned and harvested easily. This concept of farming seafood has been practiced in the Far East well before 500 B.C.
Two of the most commonly harvested mussels are: the “Blue Mussels” (also known as the “Black Mussels”, served here), followed by the “New Zealand Green Shelled Mussels”.
In preparation, mussels must be scrubbed under cold running water and the black “beard” pulled off. Particular care should be taken to ensure that mussels be alive before cooking. Discard any mussels whose shells do not close when given a slight tap.
Sautee garlic and butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat for one minute. Add the mussels and wine, cook for about four minutes until mussels open. Shake the pan occasionally while cooking. Add the fresh ground pepper and parsley. Continue cooking for two more minutes. Be sure to avoid evaporation of the broth. Serve in soup plates with broth over the crusty bread. Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course.
Please note: It’s very important to discard any mussel whose shell does not open AFTER cooking.