Unlike my brother, I was lucky enough to try mussels before we dissected one in high school. So I never developed any qualms about eating them.
Even when I found out that (at least if you don’t clean them properly) you’re going to end up eating their bowels, poo and all. I still love them. My brother never got into them, and is vegan now, so good for him.
Sustainable and fine for vegans
Supposedly, clams like mussels and oysters are sustainable and (according to some) even okay for vegans to eat as they aren’t sentient and don’t have a central nervous system.
Either way, since I had my first mussels (bread crumbed and deep fried, during a bike ride through the country side) and then my second in class after that dissection nonsense, I’ve loved mussels. They’re an easy, albeit pricey, dinner party favorite that can be on the table in under 10 minutes without breaking a sweat.
What do I have with Portuguese mussels?
A few dips, like garlic and whiskey cocktail sauce and a French style tangy mayo never hurt. Garlic bread or French bread and (garlic) butter are necessary on the side, to mop up any liquids and left-over sauce from the plate. You can have the remainder of the wine with it as well of course.
Once you’re done eating, be sure to strain the left-over liquid to remove any grit, coriander, garlic and shallots and freeze this to use for seafood risotto or soup.
Portuguese Mussels with Coriander
- Large pot with a lid
- Slotted spoon
- 2 kg mussels
- 1/4 c / 30 gr all purpose or white flour corn flour also works
- 4 cloves garlic crushed and finely chopped
- 4 medium shallots finely chopped
- 1/2 c / 125 ml white wine
Roughly 2 hours before you want to eat
- Rinse off 2 kg's mussels in a colander under a cold running tap. Scrub off any debris.
- Fill up your sink with cold water and stir in the 1/4 c/ 30 gr flour.
- Add the mussels and leave them to sit in the cold water and flour mixture for 2 hours or so. The mussels will absorb the flour and filter out any grit that is stuck in their bodies.
When you're ready to eat
- Get the biggest pot (with a lid!) you can, place it on a medium heat and melt some butter in it.
- Once the butter has melted glaze off the finely chopped 4 garlic cloves and 4 shallots until they become translucent.
- Now chuck in the mussels, with 1/2 c/ 125 ml white wine and bunch of coriander. Turn up the heat and put on the lid.
- Your mussels should be cooked in 5 to 10 minutes. Shake the pan vigorously every couple of minutes or so. Using a slotted spoon to move any mussels that haven't opened yet to the bottom of the pan every so often.
- Once all (or most) of the mussels have opened you are ready to eat. Use the first shell you empty as a little clamp to pick out the other mussels. DO NOT eat the mussels that haven't opened, they will make you very very ill.