Mussel Basics

Mussels are delicious seafood. Moules Marinière, Mosselen met Look, Mussels in Beer, Mussels with Tomato Sauce and Mussels with Anise, served with crusted bread, with French Fries or just a glass of wine, as a starter or for lunch: mussels are great to combine. And did we mention delicious?

Always keep the following in mind:

  • Mussels must be alive when you cook them. Like oysters, there is no alternative.
  • It’s seafood; so don’t put them in fresh water. If you want to wash them, then add salt to the water.
  • Clean the mussels thoroughly. It takes a few minutes but it is essential for the quality of the sauce. Use a small kitchen knife to scrape off all the nasty bits.
  • When cleaning the mussels:
    • throw away broken ones;
    • throw away ones that won’t close, even after a gently tap.
  • In case the sauce will be all over the mussels, then make sure they are really clean.
  • Add the mussels to the very hot cooking liquid and then close the pan with a lid: you don’t want your mussels to suffer any longer than necessary.
  • Cook the mussels until they are open. Don’t use a timer, don’t think they have to be cooked through and through: it will only make them rubbery and chewy.
  • Don’t eat mussels that remain closed after cooking.
  • Some suggest using the cooking juices as cheap stock. Don’t.