How to cook mussels

HOW TO COOK MUSSELS IN THE SHELL

Raw Musselsmussels
photo creditNate Gray: A Culinary (Photo) Journal / Food Photos / CC BY-NC-SA

RAW

Mussels can be eaten raw as long as you know that they are fresh, alive and from unpolluted sea water.
Scrub the outside with a brush and open them. Cut the meat out of the bottom shell and serve it in the shell with a cocktail sauce or preferably just a little lemon.

Baked Mussels
photo creditCed / Food Photos / CC BY-NC-SA

BAKE IN THE SHELL
Clean the outer shells and remove the top shell. Place the mussels on a cookie sheet. Put them in a preheated 450 degree oven for 6-8 minutes.
Serve with melted butter and lemon. A sprinkling of toasted bread crumbs can be added.

Another method;
Clean the outer shells and remove the top shell. Place the mussels on a cookie sheet
Mix about a cup of seasoned bread or cracker crumbs with about ¼ cup of butter. Brown this mixture in a pan and spread on the mussels.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree for 10-15 minutes until they are brown and slightly crispy.
If you like garlic, add to the mixture before browning. If you do this use unseasoned cracker crumbs.

Broiled Mussels
photo creditrocor / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

BROIL IN THE SHELL
Clean the outer shells and remove the top shell.
Place the opened mussels on a cookie sheet.
Put about ½ teaspoon of seasoned butter on each one and place them in a pre-heated broiler about 3-4 inches from the heat. Broil until the butter bubbles.

GRILLING IN THE SHELL
Put the mussels in saltwater for about 30 minutes. About 1 tablespoon salt for 6 cups of water. Squeeze any open mussels shut. If they do not stay tightly closed they are dead and must be discarded.
Scrub them under cold running water and pull off the beard. Do this just before cooking. Have the grill at a medium heat.
Place them on the grill and cook until they open. Discard any mussels that do not open.

Steamed Mussels
photo creditmethTICALman / Food Photos / CC BY

STEAMING MUSSELS IN THE SHELL
Use a deep pot with a cover.
Clean them under cold running water and pull of the beard just before cooking. Put them in the pot.
Add ½ -3/4 inch of liquid, water or white wine.
Put the pot over high heat and cover.
Steam the mussels until they open. This can take from 3 to 10 minutes depending on the type of clam. Discard any that don’t open.

HOW TO COOK MUSSELS THAT ARE SHUCKED

BAKE
Place the MUSSELS on a buttered cookie sheet or baking dish.
Bake in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for a few minutes just until the edges begin to curl.
Serve with melted butter and lemon.

BROIL
Place mussels on a buttered baking sheet.
Turn them over to get butter on each side.
Place the sheet in a pre-heated broiler about 3 inches from the heat.
Broil for about 3 -4 minutes, turning once.
Cook the mussels until they begin to curl.

mhaithaca / Food Photos / CC BY-NC-SA

DEEP FRYING
When you deep fry mussels, they are totally submerged in hot fat or oil. The pan used for deep frying should be deep enough to hold 2 to 3 inches of hot fat. A 4 to 6 inch deep pan is good because it helps to control spattering. If possible a conventional deep fryer works best. The best oils to use are peanut oil, corn oil and canola oil in that order. Put enough oil in the pan to make sure they can float, usually 2 to 3 inches.
1. Heat the oil to 360 degrees. A deep frying thermometer is the best way to regulate heat. If you don’t have a thermometer, wet you finger with water and flick it at the hot oil. If the oil is hot enough it will sizzle when the water hits the oil. You don’t need much water, just a small drop. Do not let the oil get too hot. If it starts to smoke it is too hot.
2. Prepare the batter or breading for the mussels.
3. Bread or batter them and lower them gently into the hot fat. If you are using a conventional deep fryer have the basket in the oil before you add the mussels. Do not put them in the basket and then submerge or they will get stuck on the basket and you will lose some of the breading. Do not crowd the mussels. It is better to fry them in batches. If you put to many pieces in the hot fat at one time it will lower the temperature of the oil and cause them to be greasy.
4. Deep fry the mussels until golden brown, usually about 2 to 6 minutes, depending on the thickness.
5. When they are done drain them. Placing them on a rack above a cookie sheet works great but if you don’t have that paper towels on a plate will work.
BATTERS FOR DEEP FRYING
BEER BATTER
Combine; ½ cup of flour
½ teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
½ cup beer
2 tablespoons cooking oil
EGG BATTER
Combine; 2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
Beat the eggs and milk together lightly.
Dip the clams in the egg mixture then in dry bread crumbs or cracker crumbs.

Grilling
Place the mussels on a buttered piece of aluminum foil.
Place the foil on the grill over medium heat until the edges of the mussels begin to curl.
It is hard to give a length of time for grilling. It can depend on things like the weather, or the temperature of the grill but 5-10 minutes is average.

PAN FRYING
Prepare the coating.
Rinse the shucked mussels under cold running water and pat them dry.
Dip them in cold milk, buttermilk or a mixture of 2 tablespoons of milk and 2 eggs.
Roll them in one of the following and set aside for a few minutes to dry.
flour, potato buds, corn meal, fine cracker crumbs, pancake mix, biscuit mix, fine dry bread crumbs, corn flake crumbs.
Place cooking oil or a combination of ½ butter and ½ oil in a heavy skillet to a depth of ¼ inch.
Heat the oil until it is sizzling but not smoking. To test the temperature of the oil, sprinkle a drop of water on the oil. If it is hot enough, the water will sizzle.
Place the mussels in the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes on each side.


POACHING

Prepare poaching liquid and bring to a boil.
Lower the mussels into the liquid and immediately reduce the heat to as low as possible.
Cook for 2-5 minutes until the edges begin to curl.
Remove from heat and serve.

SAUTE
Make a mixture of ½ cooking oil and ½ butter. Cover the bottom of a frying pan to a depth of about 1/8 inch.
Coat the mussels with a light dusting of seasoned flour.
Sauté over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until the edges begin to curl.

 

STEAMING
In the steaming process the mussels never touch the water but are suspended above the water on a rack. Use a pan big enough to hold a steamer rack. An inverted bowl can be used with a rack or plate on top of it just high enough to keep the mussels out of the water and allowing the pan to be covered.
Place 1-2 inches of water into the pan and add the steamer rack.
Bring the water to a boil.
Place the mussels on the rack and cover the pan.
When the steam starts to escape from the pot, start timing. About 3 minutes should be enough.

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