Tuesday, March 22, 2011


One thing I learned about mussels from the International Restaurant Food Show is how they farm it.

"Most mussels are farmed using a system of ropes suspended from rafts or buoys. Mussels attach to the ropes and take 12 to 18 months to reach a harvest able size. Some farmers grow their mussels in cages on the bottom, but most find that off-bottom-culture increases the harvest per area, reduces the risk of predation, and allows the mussels to grow faster and larger.

Mussels and other shellfish are filter feeders. They capture and eat microscopic particles, plants and nutrients by filtering ocean water. This means that mussel farming operations can actually clean the water where they are located.

Most farmed mussels are raised on suspended ropes that never contact the seafloor, which prevents the risk of habitat destruction. Some mussel farmers raise their mussels in mesh bags or cages, either suspended in the water column or attached to the seafloor. When the mussels are large enough to harvest, the farmer simply collects the bags or cages from the farming location."

I also learned that you can tell how fresh the mussels are by reading the label of the net bag.  It will tell you when it was harvested.  At the usual grocery I go to, the batch I bought was just a day old.  And I actually cooked it 2 days after and they were still alive.

When the shells are open, to test if they are alive, just tap it. If they close, then they're alive.  Discard the dead ones.

This bag of mussels I bought were still all shut closed.  But all opened when they got cooked. If after you cook them do not eat the ones that are still shut.  Discard the shut ones after cooking.

Ingredients used:
1 bag of mussels (serves 2)
3/4 c white wine (I used chardonnay)
4-5 cloves of garlic crushed (I minced one of them)
1/2 sliced onion
4 sprigs of thyme

(OPTIONAL:  You can add 1TB of Jerk Seasoning and 3/4 c of white wine instead of chardonnay to have a spicy version of this recipe)

I placed all the ingredients except for the mussels in a large pot.  Boiled the ingredients for about 5 minutes then added the mussels:
Cover the pot back after you add the mussels.  In about 10 minutes, soon as the mussels open, they are ready.

I served the mussels with the broth in a bowl with sliced baguette.  I brushed them with olive oil, then slightly toasted it in the oven.
On the side are cloves of garlic which you can rub against your baguette to eat with the mussel.  If you want, you could also sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on your garlic-rubbed bread.
I happened to have some frisee, arugula and strawberries which I made into salad.  Just drizzle it with aged balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and season it with salt and pepper.  VOILA!

This is such an easy meal to make - why eat it out???

Great to serve for Valentine's Day too!


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