Seafood Month: Better Than Shark Weekby Michael Wards
A few weeks ago, I was in Mexico on a much-needed vacation. I love my business and I love feeding people, but sometimes I just want someone to cook for me! One evening, my wife and I ventured out to a nearby restaurant to enjoy the local cuisine, and I ordered mussels….
The mussels were perfectly tender and swimming in a full-bodied broth. If it were socially acceptable, I would’ve picked up the bowl and tipped the liquid right into my mouth. Fortunately, the meal was paired with crusty bread for sopping up all that savory goodness.
This dinner got me thinking about the last time I made mussels. While us Texans do enjoy good seafood, I don’t think many of the varieties are as prevalent around here as they are on the East Coast. So right then and there I decided to do something about it.
Welcome to Seafood Month—3 weeks dedicated to some of the best fish in the sea. Each week, I’ll share my pro tips, tricks and recipes for preparing an easy, elegant summer meal. The fun begins right now with, you guessed it, mussels!
How to Pick & Clean Mussels
- Find a local fishmonger or shop that sells high-quality seafood. The better the quality the better the flavor.
- Check that the shells are whole (not cracked) and closed. If the shell isn’t closed, tap it. If it closes, the mussel is still alive and healthy. If not, discard.
- We recommend cooking the mussels immediately, as they are best when fresh.
- Pop the mussels in a bowl of cold water and give each one a scrub. Then remove the “beard”, which is where the shell connects.
- See below for a few of our favorite recipes. Just be sure that the shells fully open after they’re cooked. If not, add them to the discard pile.
Spicy Mussels with White Wine: Try Bobby Flay’s ramped up summer recipe, made on the grill.
Mussels all Piastra: Another great grill recipe, Mario Batali’s mussels (with prosciutto) are prepared using a piastra—or flat griddle.
Steamed Mussels: This simple, classic steamed recipe from Tyler Florence hits all the high notes with an infusion of leeks, garlic, thyme, white wine and butter. Remember to adjust seasonings to taste.
We can’t wait to hear from you! Let us know which recipe you’re trying this week (or share your all-time favorite) in the comments below. Then, check back next Monday, as Seafood Month continues. #betterthansharkweek