Oh mussels...we have such a complicated relationship you and I. If you were a person my friends would have told me to give up on you long ago; that you were no good for me and to stop chasing someone who would never fully embrace me back (…oh wait, my friends have told me that…specifically in relation to all bivalves, not just mussels).
When I realized that one of the items on the BA Home Cook Challenge was steamed mussels, my heart did a little flutter in my chest. Partially because I LOVE mussels, but also partially because my body was probably trying to physically re-enact the early signs of food poisoning to remind me of all the times that mussels have taken me to a dark place. It is a true fact that I have been sick from mussels roughly 50% of the times that I’ve eaten them…and I’ve eaten them a lot. Arguably I probably have some sort of mild shellfish allergy as this tendency to get sick seems to follow me through many bivalve experiences. I don’t bring this up to scare you away from cooking mussels – quite the opposite, in fact. I’m saying look at how many times they’ve wronged me and yet I still salivate at the sight of those little bastards, shells gaping open in a pool of savoury broth (also the salivating is probably partially the kind you get right before the barfs start setting in). To add further insult to injury – literal gastrointestinal injury at this point probably – mussels are frighteningly easy and cheap to prepare at home, making the struggle (for me, at least) even more real.
Given my tumultuous history with mussels, I thought it only fair to include a recipe for steamed mussels that could easily be substituted for another seafood (in this case prawns, but clams would also be lovely). Below you will find two renditions of steamed mussels; one fairly classic recipe that for reasons of tradition should probably only be applied to mussels, and another more contemporary version that is hearty enough to stand up to less delicate forms of seafood and is a better option for those who are not interested in playing bivalve roulette.
Venture forth for a classic white wine and herb steamed mussels recipe!
Try out a twist with this recipe for Thai red curry mussels/prawns/etc!