In this post, I show you how to clean and prepare mussels with your favorite sauce with step by step instructions.
Most of you know that I don’t eat seafood; however, my family loves them! I normally make them every Christmas day to serve as an appetizer, but they’re so good and easy to make that you can make them any day of the week as a meal.
My mom gave me these tips years ago on how to clean and prepare mussels. I’ve been told that “They are the cleanest mussels I’ve ever eaten!” so I must be doing something right!
How to Clean & Prepare Mussels
Buy FRESH mussels, either the day before or day of serving, and keep them in a covered bowl or dish in the refrigerator with plastic wrap until you are ready to clean them. They fit nicely in a large glass bowl (approx. 4-quart).
I generally purchase two-pounds of mussels; which is enough for 10 people since we also serve other appetizers as well.
If the shell is open, tap the mussel. If the shell closes, the mussel is fresh and alive. If the shell does not close or the shell is visibly cracked or chipped, the mussel is no longer alive and should be discarded.
Four hours before you are ready to clean and prepare your mussels, fill your bowl with cold water and 1/2 cup of all purpose flour. This will help clean the mussels and reduce the amount of sand found inside. Then, place the bowl back in the refrigerator until you are ready to prepare.
Before you’re ready to clean and prepare the mussels, you’ll need to make or heat up the sauce you will be serving them with.
The two most common sauces to serve mussels with are marinara sauce or a fra diavlo sauce; which is a marinara sauce with the addition of red pepper flakes. Another favorite is to make a white wine sauce by sautéing some fresh garlic and parsley in butter; then adding some white wine.
Remove the dish from the refrigerator; then “de-beard” the mussels by pulling the “fuzzy” part of the mussel off the side of the shell as best as you can. Using a small knife, I grasp the beard with the side of knife and my thumb and pull the beard towards me down the shell.
Repeat for all mussels; then rinse them under cold water to remove any excess sand and/or flour.
Next, place the mussels in the perforated portion of a large steamer pot. Fill the bottom portion of the steamer pot approximately halfway with water; then add the perforated portion of the pot with the mussels on top.
Cover the pot with a lid, bring to a boil and allow mussels to steam. The mussels are cooked when the shells have all opened; approximately 8-10 minutes. If any mussels do not open, discard.
Once the mussels are cooked, place them on a large serving dish or platter and toss with your favorite sauce. Oh and don’t forget the crusty Italian bread! It’s great for dipping into the sauce. ~Enjoy!I