One of my all time favorite things to order while out are mussels which are right behind oysters. Bistro Niko here in Atlanta has some of my absolute favorite mussels in the city. I’ve never tried my hand at making them at home, but when Williams-Sonoma challenged me to make a delicious Italian meal in this stunning tomato cast iron dish, I thought I had to do something out of my comfort zone. Sure I could’ve made chicken cacciatore or yet another pasta dish, but that’s so boring. Now mussels, that’s fancy!
So I opened my most recent cookbook to get inspired (they’re beginning to collect dust since I NEVER cook). To keep things simple, I went classic with tomato, shallots and garlic. The sweetness of the tomatoes really makes this dish so yummy paired with the salty brine of the mussels. Serve with crusty bread and a salad and you’ve got yourself a fancy pants meal that you can easily entertain with.
How To Prep & Cook Mussels
Mussels are so easy to make but can be super intimidating. It’s really SUPER easy. You just want to follow a few simple steps to prep your mussels to ensure you don’t have any sand in them when you go to eat them. Because no one likes gritty sand in their food. And also make sure you’re only eating ALIVE mussels. I mean, yes you’re eventually cooking/killing them, but they have to be alive before you do so. And it’s SUPER easy to figure out!
METHOD FOR PREPPING & COOKING MUSSELS AT HOME
Step One – Buy Happy Mussels
Buy your mussels from the fishmonger. Make sure you keep the bag OPEN, they need to breathe! And be sure they are closed, that means they’re alive. If they’re open, you can tap them to see if it closes. If it doesn’t close, it means it’s a dead mussel and you don’t want to eat it.
Step Two – Clean Your Mussels
Add them to a bowl of water with a bit of flour and let them sit for about 20 minutes. Don’t go much longer than that though. This allows them to suck in the floury water, and then they spit out any sand. You’d rather some flour in them, vs the sand so make sure they’re drinking and spitting appropriately. No really! Run them underwater and then remove the beard from them. Just pull and tug until it comes off.
Step Three – Cook Your Mussels
Now that you have clean, debearded and alive mussels, it’s time to cook them! Most methods are pretty similar. A flavorful broth base, then add your mussels, let them steam for about 5 minutes, then they’re done! It is truly that simple!
TIP: If any of your mussels are too hard to open when they’ve been cooked, that means they were dead before you cooked them. They’re not good so no worth fighting to open them. Just toss it!
Get My Easy Mussel Recipe With Tomatoes and Garlic
Easy Mussel Recipe With Tomatoes
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/4 shallot diced
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- handful of parsley to finish the dish with
- 2-3 lbs of mussels
- 3/4 cup of white wine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil and saute garlic and onions until fragrant. Add in tomatoes and season with S&P. Let cook for about 5 minutes until they start to burst a bit. Mix in your wine and let it come to a simmer for about 1 minute. Add in your mussles and cover with a lid. Let cook for 6-8 minutes until all mussels have opened.
- Discard any unopened mussels.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve.