If you are looking for a simple meal that sums up everything which is good about
being by the coast then you can’t go far wrong with a bowl of mussels. Simple, cheap
and tasty. Depending on where you are you can either gather them yourself or nip
down to the local supermarket.
If you do gather them yourself, there are a few guidelines you should adhere to. Make sure the beach you are gathering on is clean. Mussels are filter feeders, so clean water only.
Gather the big but not massive Mussels. (The larger mussels have had a chance to breed but the huge ones are older and not as tasty.)
Only collect when there is an ‘r’ in the month, so not May, June, July or August and by collecting only in the cooler months there is less likely to be harmful bacteria in the water.
Choose the mussels growing further up the rock rather than those down by the sand. They will be less gritty.
So, after a pleasant walk along the beach gathering mussels, you can either cook them on the beach or bring them home. Either way you’ll want to clean off any barnacles and remove the ‘beards’ (like hairy seaweed) coming from the shell. Give them a rinse. Throw away any mussels which haven’t closed. (After cooking you’ll throw away any which haven’t opened.)
A bag of live mussels
A glass of dry white wine
4large shallots, finely chopped
4garlic cloves, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
Some chopped flat-leaf parsley or basil
A knob of butter, cut into pieces
Rinse and scrub mussels under cold water.
Using your fingers or paring knife, remove beards (strings that hang from the mussel shells), and discard.
In a large stockpot set over medium heat, combine wine, shallots, garlic, and salt.
Simmer 5 minutes.
Add mussels, cover, and increase heat to high.
Cook until all mussels are open, about 5 minutes. (Discard any which have not
Stir in herbs and butter.
Remove from heat.
Divide mussels and broth among four bowls
Serve immediately with crusty bread and butter!
Wishing you happing gathering days and mealtimes. Here is a couple of links which you may find helpful: