This is the first of what hopefully will be many Galley Pirates’ recipes for steamed mussels. There are as many ways of preparing mussels as there are people who love them. And no surprise. Mussels are found around the world and are the cheapest by comparison to other bivalves like clams or oysters. They’re sold by the pound instead of by the dozen. And they are very simple to prepare. This is a minimalist recipe, using only a few, basic ingredients which brings out the delicate flavor of the mussels.
When selecting your mussels, make sure the shells are all closed tight. Discard any that are open or don’t close when you press on them. The small ones are the tastiest and most tender. I went to two fish markets today to find just the right sized mussels.
Belgian Steamed Mussels
2 tablespoon olive oil or butter
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
5+ shallots or one small onion, finely chopped
1.5 cups white wine
2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
Fresh ground black pepper
1.5 lb mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Finely chop the vegetables. If you have a ulu, this is a perfect time to use it!
Sauté the shallots, garlic and celery in the oil or butter until translucent.
Add the wine, salt and pepper. Heat through.
Stir in the mussels and parsley. Cover tightly and bring to a simmer. Let the mussels steam until they pop open, about 5-8 minutes. Don’t over steam or the meat will pull away from the shells and dry out.
Gently fold the mussels into the wine sauce before serving.
Serve as an appetizer with crusty bread to soak up the wine sauce. Or for a truly Belgian experience, serve with pommes frites*. (AKA french fries) And of course with a good Belgian beer! A Saison works for us today!
* Calling all galley chefs! ….Looking for a sailing friendly french fry recipe made with fresh potatoes. I’ve been experimenting with a few but with the soaking time needed, the drying space, the hot oil…none seem terribly galley friendly. If you have any ideas, please share!!