Reasons I love to cook mussels:
3. Looks very impressive
4. Highly versatile
6. Easy to make a small batch or a large batch for company
Need I go on?
The two mussel dishes we make the most often are the typical/traditional version – white wine and parsley broth and the other is in a lemon broth with blue cheese and bacon. (Seriously, does every other thing I make have bacon in it?) Oh – and make sure you serve it with some good, crusty bread to soak up all the delicious mussel brothy goodness at the bottom of your bowl.
Mussels with Bacon and Blue Cheese
2 Main Course Portions or 4 Appetizer Portions
- 2 pounds Mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded (see link and also my notes below for more info)
- 6 slices bacon
- 3/4 cup chicken broth/stock
- Juice of one lemon
- 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Cut bacon into small pieces. (It’s much easier to cut bacon if you pop it into the freezer for about 20 minutes first.) Cook bacon over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until cooked through and starting to crisp a bit. Remove bacon from pan, but leave bacon fat in pan.
Bring pan with bacon fat up to medium high heat. Add mussels and season with a little salt and pepper. Toss around for a minute or so. Add broth and let mussels cook for another couple minutes. Add lemon juice and let cook for another minute. Add 1/2 cup of the blue cheese and the bacon back to the pan. Let mussels and broth all come together for another minute. In all, the mussels should be fully cooked in about 6-7 minutes.
Divide mussels between 2 bowls and ladle plenty of broth with bacon bits over mussels. Top each both with remaining blue cheese. Serve with toasted crunchy bread.
Some important notes with mussels –
- Fresh mussels are alive when you purchase them, and you want to keep them that way. They need air so leave the bag open a bit so they can breathe. You want to discard any mussels that are dead. A mussel that is alive is tightly closed. If a mussel shell is somewhat open, tap it on the counter. If it starts moving and closing up, its still alive. If nothing happens and it does not move, it is dead so toss it out.
- To clean mussels give them a very quick rinse in a colander (not too much water as fresh water will kill them.) Remove any grit that is attached. Also, look to remove any “beards” – a stringy, hair thing that you can just tug out with your fingers.