Summer is the perfect time for shellfish. It’s abundant and at peak flavor. With rising prices, there is still one option that never disappoints and is always within budget. Mussels are a beautiful, sustainable seafood. They’re farmed on ropes in the bays and only take about a year to reach full maturity. It also helps that they’re often one of the cheapest options out there at around $0.11 each! Like other mollusks, they take on the flavor of their surroundings. These particular beauties are from Maine and are sweet, briney and tender as can be. With the addition of a little white wine and fresh homemade tomato sauce, all you need is a little bread to soak up the juices and you’re on your way to a perfect summer night.
25 Large or 40 Medium Mussels
1 Clove Garlic
1 Cup White Wine
1 Cup Marinara or fresh tomato sauce
First thing is to make sure that your mussels are alive. If they’re open, squeeze them a couple times. If it starts to close, then it’s still alive.
The way mussels hang onto what ever surface they decide to live on, is with a byssus or “beard” that is produced by the mussel’s foot. We’re going to remove this before we cook them. Using the spine of a pairing knife, pull the beards off.
Heat some oil in a pan and caramelize the garlic. Add enough mussels to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the white wine and cover with a lid.
After about 4 minutes, the mussels should start to open up. Add your tomato sauce and toss to coat.
That’s it! It’s so incredibly simple and makes for an amazing summer evening. Picking mussels and drinking an ice cold beer just make me happy!