Mussels are a great sharing dish and they’re super quick to cook once they have been prepared. You can clean and debeard your mussels ahead of time, just ensure you don’t leave them in water as they will drown. If you do clean them in preparation for cooking later in the day, simply leave them in a bowl and loosely cover them with damp newspaper or kitchen roll and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
What is extremely important to remember with mussels is if there are any with cracked shells, discard them immediately and if any shells are open, give them a light tap and if they don’t close, then throw them out too. These mussels are already dead and will make you sick if you eat them and they will also contaminate the rest of the fresh mussels. I always recommend buying more mussels than you think you need. Fishmongers will do their best to remove any dead mussels from the batch, but some do slip through and you may find yourself loosing a few before you have even started cooking. Plus, even if they’re all good can you really have too many mussels?!
Once you’ve removed the barnacles and beards, you’re ready to get started. There are so many different ways to make mussels, this version is a cross over between a white wine sauce and the typical Napolitano version, Impepata di Cozze, which essentially means mussels with pepper. This is my Dad’s favourite, but I prefer them in white wine so I decided to combine the two. If you’re not a huge pepper fan, then reduce the amount to pepper to 2 Tsp as it will give you a kick! Your guests can always add more if they fancy it.
Now everything will happen quite quickly, so ensure you have all your ingredients ready as you don’t want be going around trying to chop your garlic or finding your wine once you’ve started cooking. Also make sure your saucepan is big enough to hold all the mussels and has a lid as this will be creating the steam. I love using my Le Creuset pot as I find that it regulates the heat perfectly and ensures that everything is steamed properly! Then you simply bring it over to the table and let everyone dive in!
Just remember to have lots of fresh crusty bread to hand to soak up all the wonderful juices! I served mine with my homemade sourdough and we were pretty much fighting over the last slice!
Steamed Mussels in White Wine
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
1.5 kg Fresh mussels, scrubbed & debearded
1/2 White onion, diced
3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Red chilli, deseeded & roughly chopped
150ml Dry white wine
Small handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
3 Tsp Black pepper
2 Tbsp Olive oil
Prepare your mussels by rinsing under running water, scrubbing off any barnacles and debearding them. Discard any mussels with cracked shells, or any that are open and don’t close when you lightly tap them. These are already dead and shouldn’t be eaten.
In a large saucepan, add olive oil and warm on a medium heat. Add onions for fry for 4-5 minutes until almost transluscent. Add the garlic and chilli and sauté for another minute.
Increase the heat to high, carefully add the mussels and immediately pour in the wine. Cover with a lid and allow the cook for around 4-5 minutes until all the shells open, carefully shaking the pot halfway through. If using a cast iron pot, quickly remove the lid and give the mussels a stir before replacing the lid for the final 2-3 minutes.
After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and discard any mussels that haven’t opened or need to be forced open - these are bad mussels and shouldn’t be eaten! Sprinkle over the pepper and fresh parsley. Serve immediately with fresh crusty bread and lemon slices.
Discard any mussels that have cracked shells or that are opened and don’t close when tapped prior to cooking.
Don’t leave your mussels in a bowl of water, this will drown them. Run them under fresh water whilst scrubbing and then keep in an empty clean bowl, covering them with damp newspaper or kitchen roll until you’re ready to steam them.
Ensure your saucepan is big enough to hold all the mussels and has a tight fitting lid.
Reduce the pepper to 2 Tsp if you aren’t a huge pepper fan!
Discard any mussels that haven’t opened after steaming or any that require a bit of force to open.