How To Cook Mussels To Perfection

by Shruti Shukla

Cooking is not rocket science. As scary as the concept may seem to someone who barely knows their way around the kitchen, there’s really nothing to it. If you have the basic concept of flavor down, you’ve hit a home run. It really is that simple.

Now, you could be cooking a weekend meal or entertaining guests, but don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen—go with seafood. We’re thinking, mussels. After all, they will fit in your menu perfectly and are exceptionally nutritious. Mussels are rich in energizing protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The best part? They’re super easy to prepare, and will make for a rich and succulent meal that’s easy on your waistline and pocket.

Yes, we know that mussels run the risk of being over cooked in a matter of minutes, but that’s where we come in. Follow these few simple tips, and you’ll never clam up over mussels ever again! Here’s what you do:

Give It A Good Wash
The problem with seafood is that, if not properly cleaned, it can lead to allergic reactions—especially shellfish. Make sure you thoroughly rinse the mussels under cold running water. Scrub away the dirt or furry patches, and you’re good to go!

Flavor That Packs A Punch
Before you start cooking your mussels, you need to have a game plan. The thing is, the flesh of this shellfish is rather delicate—light and fluffy, with the ethereal hint of “ocean”. And that’s something you want to preserve, not overpower. Which is why, we recommend you sauté a few aromatics to compliment the shellfish—lemon, ginger, garlic, onion—you can’t go wrong. This will not only infuse a delectable flavor in your dish but also make a great sauce to pour over the mussels when you serve.

Get Innovative With The Base
While you could add water to help cook your muscles, if you’re really looking to get creative with the dish, go for coconut milk. While this may make the dish heavier that you’d want, it will add a whole depth of flavor. However, if you’re looking for a broth-like effect that marries well with pasta or bread, try white wine. It won’t only add another level of richness to your dish, it will form a solid base for that flavorful sauce you won’t want to wait to dunk into.

Let It Simmer
Now, here’s the crucial part—cooking time. It only takes minutes to overcook your mussels so this step is of utmost importance. But how long does one cook mussels for? Once you have your sauce prepared, simply add mussels to it. Now, you want to keep the flame low, and let it simmer and cook gently. A high flame will definitely ruin its natural flavor to some extent. Now, you’ll know they’re done when the pop open. Just turn the flame off, shake and you’re done.

Discard The Unopened Shells
It’s simple—the dish is done when the shells open. Now, once you remove them from the stove, you might notice a few unopened shells. Don’t bother with them. Any unopened shells means the fish was dead from the start and is unhealthy to eat.

Top it up with some fresh herbs—cilantro, parsley or rosemary are the perfect ingredients to top off the clams with, considering they will add a bit of freshness to the presentation. All that’s left to do now is serve and devour. Yes, it’s really that simple. And you thought you couldn’t cook!

If you have a few more tips and tricks that you’d like to share, or maybe a recipe that’s made you rethink the way you look at seafood, do share it in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what you have to say.

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