Mussels can be a one-pot meal – just be sure pick up some crusty French baguette to sop up the cream based sauce. I love making mussels for a large group of people, whether steamed or grilled, it’s fun to see how your friends may toss or stack the shells neatly.
I found a pretty good video on youtube that demonstrates cleaning and de-bearding the mussels. I do not recommend de-bearding and storing the mussels, as you will lose more mussels. If you need to purchase the mussels the day before cooking, just rinse them off, place them in a large bowl, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate. I also recommend finding smaller mussels, versus larger ones, they tend to be more flavorful – ask your fishmonger! REMEMBER: Discard any mussels with cracked shells, or any open mussels prior to cooking, and after cooking if there are any mussels that don’t open, throw them away!
White Wine and Tarragon Steamed Mussels – serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup Chardonnay
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 lbs mussels, scrubbed, rinsed and de-bearded
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven med-high heat. Add shallots and garlic, cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add wine and scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pot, stir in red pepper flakes and salt.
Add the mussels to the pot, cover and steam until they just begin to open, about 3 minutes. Pour cream on top, cover and cook until all the mussels are open, about 5 minutes.
Remove the cover and turn the mussels out into a large serving bowl, or divide among individual bowls, and top with cream mixture. Sprinkle with tarragon, and serve with a large glass of white wine and some crusty baguette.