Another recipe from Cook Yourself Thin, Faster*! I love muscles...I mean mussels, ok both really. So I decided to make some mussels for my muscle man/husband last night (hi honey!). And they were fabulous (both the mussels and the muscles)! :-) We paired our mussels with a side of crusty Italian bread, a small salad, a crisp white wine and a heavy dose of Olympic spirit. Go USA!
Despite their small size, mussels are a very filling and healthy food. A study at Harvard University found mussels to contain virtually the same amount of protein as T-bone steak. A 6 oz portion of cooked blue mussels contains 40g of protein and only 294 calories. An equal portion of steak contains four times more calories and eighteen times more fat. Mussels are also rich in iron, manganese, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, vitamins C and B12 and contain more essential Omega-3 fatty acids than any other shellfish. How's that for a super food!
1 cup water
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 tomatoes, cut in chunks
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1. Rinse the mussels and pull off any "beard" - the stringy bits. Discard any mussels that have opened (they're not safe to eat).
2. In a large heavy pot over medium heat, add the oil, garlic and fennel and saute until the fennel is translucent (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add the wine, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, herbs and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
5. Divide the mussels and broth into large bowls and serve with warm crusty bread (for dipping in the broth) and a lemon wedge.
Tips for Cleaning & De-Bearding Mussels:
- You want to get rid of as much sand as possible.
- Soak the mussels in cool fresh water for 20-30 minutes before cooking. The mussels will expel most of the sand inside the shell as the “breathe.” Then with your hands or a firm brush, clean the mussels under running water.
How to Eat a Mussel:
During law school, I spent a month in Brussels, Belgium (the mussel capital of the world), eating mussels every chance I could get. Not only did I quickly become a mussel connoisseur, but I quickly adopted the "correct technique" for eating mussels. PUT YOUR FORK DOWN! There is a
right better way to do it.**
Because of the way it is hinged, an empty mussel shell makes a handy implement for eating mussels with. Empty one hinged mussel shell, and then use it to simply pick the other mussels out of their shells by pinching them with end of the empty shell, and then pop them in your mouth. Discard empty shells in a separate bowl.
**I strictly enforce this rule upon anyone I eat mussels with and will viciously mock your lack of mussel etiquette if you eat them with a fork! DON'T DO IT! Be cool and euro - use the shell. :)