I first encountered these little critters in Brussels, Belgium in the '70's, and fell in love with them. In Brussels, you are provided with a big bucket to hold the empty shells. These can be served without cooking down the liquid to a sauce. Either way, use warm crusty French bread slices to mop up the sauce...yummmmmm!
Serves: 2
Prep.Time: 30 minutes

2 pounds fresh mussels
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or green onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
Pinch of paprika

Place mussels in kitchen sink; cover with cold water. Inspect for open or cracked shells; discard those with cracked shells. Tap those with open shells---if they do not close tightly, discard. Scrub shells with a stiff brush; pull off the bristly "beard". Stir the water; then drain (this encourages mussels to eliminate sand they have ingested). Repeat the process until water is clear after stirring.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, cook shallots or onions and garlic in oil over medium heat, stirring frequently until tender. Stir in wine and paprika; bring to a boil. Add mussels; cover tightly and steam 3-5 minutes or until the shells have opened. Discard any mussels that have not opened.
Remove mussels to 2 serving bowls; keep warm. Cook liquid down over high heat 4-5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour sauce over mussels; serve immediately.

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Copyright 2002 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved