Published November 1, 1996.
To avoid grit, buy a rope-cultured product or Great Eastern bottom-cultivated mussels, then steam in a flavorful broth.
Preparing mussels can be an all-day affair, what with scrubbing, debarring, and rinsing. Yet despite all that work, the broth is often gritty and the mussels sometimes taste funky.
Clean and tasty mussels, quickly prepared, in a flavorful and grit free broth.
Depending on the conditions in which they grow, some muscles are dirtier than others. We found that rope-cultured and Great Eastern bottom mussels (a widely available variety) to be the cleanest. When mussels are roasted, sautéed, or steamed over broth, they steam in their own juices and taste of pure mussel. Mussels steamed in the broth pick up its aromatic flavor, which, in this case, improves the mussels' flavor. Garlic in the broth balances and enriches the flavor of the mussels. Simmering the broth for a few minutes before adding the mussels beefs up the flavor. We found that larger mussels need to cook a few minutes after they open to firm up. It all evens out somehow if you simply cook until all the mussels open.list of recipes