Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mussels with Tomato and Garlic

How to Buy

Mussels are very easy to identify. They are a bi-valve shellfish that measures from two to three inches in length. The shell is primarily a blackish colour with bluish highlights and has an elongated triangular shape. Mussels are traditionally marketed fresh in the shell. The shells are usually closed tightly but they may open slightly when left undisturbed. When purchasing mussels check any open shells by tapping them. If the shells do not close when tapped, they should be discarded. It is relatively easy to distinguish between wild and cultured mussels. Wild mussels, which are a dull bluish colour with white erosion marks, usually have seaweeds or barnacles attached. In contrast, cultured mussels have shiny bluish-black shells, free of barnacles and seaweeds.

How to Prepare

To prepare mussels for cooking, rinse the shells under cool running water. Remove the byssus threads (a bundle of brown fibres found between the two shells of the mussel) by cutting them with scissors or pulling them out with a quick tug. Mussels are traditionally prepared by steaming over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until the shells open. Because mussels contain liquid, which comes out during the steaming process, it is not necesary to add any liquid when steaming fresh mussels. If the mussels are several days old, it may be necessary to add about 1/2 inch (1 cm) of liquid to the bottom of the pot. Vegetables such as carrots, celery or onion can also be added for extra flavour. When steaming mussels, cook them only until the shells open wide and the meats become loose from the shell. To continue steaming will overcook the mussels, causing them to be tough and dry. Do not be concerned by the different colours of the mussel meats. The pale white meat indicates a male mussel while the females are a yellowish rust colour. Mussels can easily be prepared in the microwave. Just place the mussels on a shallow pan, add 1/4 cut (50 ml) hot water and cook at a high temperature for 4-5 minutes.

There are many ways to cook mussels.


* 4 sliced garlic cloves
* 2,50 lbs mussels
* 3 teaspoons Olive Oil
* 2 Pinch chopped parsley to taste
* 1 - 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
* 2 - 3 pinch salt
* 2 - 3 medium tomatoes finely chopped
* 6 oz white wine


Wash the mussels thoroughly, drain, and set aside.

Add olive oil to a skillet and brown the garlic for a few minutes, then add drained mussels, stir well pour in the wine and stir and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes longer. Add the tomatoes, parlsey and seasonings and boil for 20 minutes.

Serve warm with fresh parsley.

Servings: 6

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