From Italian Classics
Why this recipe works:
We preferred farmed mussels to wild for our mussel soup recipe because they were free of grit and didn’t require soaking to purge them of sand. For the soup base, we cooked sliced garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil until the garlic was light golden and barely toasty, adding canned diced… read more
We preferred farmed mussels to wild for our mussel soup recipe because they were free of grit and didn’t require soaking to purge them of sand. For the soup base, we cooked sliced garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil until the garlic was light golden and barely toasty, adding canned diced tomatoes, a generous measure of fresh oregano, bay leaves, dry white wine, and some water. The mussels in our mussel soup recipe took practically no time to cook. We noted that once they opened, they were done; if cooked much longer, the meat turned chewy and tough. We stirred in some fresh basil at the last moment.less
Serves 4 to 6 as a main course
Like all shellfish, mussels must be thoroughly cleaned prior to cooking. With the aid of a paring knife, pull and trim the beard (see illustration below NEED STEP BY STEP), then scrub the mussel with a stiff-bristled brush to rid the shell’s exterior of grit. Also, make absolutely certain that the mussels are completely closed; an open mussel that won’t close is a dead mussel and should be promptly discarded. Our favorite mussels are from the Maine-based company Great Eastern. Readily available in many large markets, they are very clean, and the beards are easily removed. They are well marked and usually come in 2-pound bags. For the best results, refrain from debearding the mussels until shortly before cooking.As with most shellfish, the cooking time of mussels is of the essence. Shellfish are done as soon as their shells open; any longer and they quickly toughen. If the meat falls from the shells, it is overcooked. Remember, the soup maintains a lot of heat, and the mussels will continue to cook off the stove. For the crostini, choose a long loaf without seeds, preferably something hearty, with a chewy crumb.