Mussels are a staple in many traditional dishes around the world. They are a fundamental part of Mediterranean cuisine, such as paella (Spain), mydia or dagnje na buzaru (Croatia), and of course France and Belgium, where they feature in classics like moules frites, moules mariniere and more. They also make an excellent appetizer or light lunch paired with crusty bread and a glass of wine.
A popular dish worldwide, mussels can be served as a main course or an appetizer and are generally cooked in a variety of ways. They can be steamed, grilled or sautéed with various ingredients. They are often seasoned with garlic, herbs or lemon juice. In addition, they are often served in a sauce, such as a white wine, tomato or coconut milk based sauce, to enhance the flavour and bring out the natural sweetness of the mussel.
Before cooking mussels, rinse them well in cold water and scrape off any dirt, barnacles or hairy bits from the shells. Also, remove the ‘beard’ that hangs down from the bottom of the mussel (it can be difficult to pull out). Ideally, purchase mussels that are rope-grown on farms. This ensures they are clean and sanitary, free of parasites, chemicals and grit.
Moules mariniere is a classic mussel recipe that is steamed in white wine with a little butter and shallots. It’s a simple dish that feels fancy – and is super easy to make. It goes especially well with French fries, preferably with a side of Dijon mayonnaise. moules