I previously shared a simple recipe for mussels cooked in white wine among the quick Paleo meals recipe compilation. This one is similar, yet different in its use of a wider variety of fresh herbs and additions like lemon zest to give the final dish a really developed and sophisticated taste.
If you’re looking for a great dish to prepare while entertaining people, this is it! Mussels are so easy to cook and once they’ve been properly cleaned, you can have something delicious on the table within 15 minutes. After making this recipe, I realized that I do not cook mussels nearly as often as I should. Perhaps one of the best aspects about mussels in their mild taste compared to some other seafood choices. This is especially a bonus to those who are not seafood fans, as that “fishy” taste is barely present. If you can get past this, the only other thing that may bother you is the texture. I guess it could be best described as a combination of slim and mush, but if you don’t let this get to your head, you’ll find them quite enjoyable.
Let’s get back on the topic of flavor. Normally you’d choose to cook something because of how tasty it is, but when cooking mussels, it’s a little more about everything else in the dish that makes for something delicious. In fact, when you really consider it, you may be left questioning why we actually eat them. That is unless, of course, you absolutely love them even when only by themselves. Perhaps it has something to do with how nutritious they are. Other than being a great source of protein, mussels are an excellent source of vitamin B12, iron, zinc and selenium. This type of preparation with wine is quite common when cooking mussels. White wine is a very popular ingredient and this is where we’ll get most of our flavor from. Another popular sauce for mussels time is the tomato sauce. I would say that these are two of the most common ways to prepare the shellfish. Aside from the white wine, I chose a few other simple ingredients to use and improve the taste. Everything that’s used here provide for a great impact on flavor, so in the end, less is more for this combination. I’ll also quickly mention that I’ve left it up to you to decide what form of cooking fat to use. I used ghee and the results were fantastic. Butter would also be a good option if you don’t have some ghee (clarified butter) handy.
Prior to jumping into the recipe, I’ll give you some pointers about preparing the mussels ahead of the actual cooking. The first thing to do is to make sure they are fresh. It’s best to grab them at a local fish market. A few hours ahead of serving the dish, remove them from the fridge and toss them into a large bowl filled with ice-cold water and ice. Let them sit for a little while this way, as it encourages any excess sand and dirt to come away from the shells. This will also keep them fresh while you work with them. At this time, you may also notice that any of the mussels that were previously opened may close up. This is good, as it means they’re still alive. Once they have soaked for a while, you’ll need to clean them. Using a small brush (nail brush), brush away any of the excess sand and dirt from the shells. You may also notice that some of the mussels have a small piece of something hanging out of the shell. This is called the beard and you want to try and remove it. All you have to do is tug on it and it should come out, but don’t be concerned if you can’t get all of it out. Once you’ve cleaned one and removed the beard, place it into another bowl full of clean water and ice. If you come across any open shells during this process, toss them away. The opened ones are no good because an open shell means its dead. When you’ve finished cleaning them all, they’re ready for cooking.
Mussels in White Wine Sauce Recipe
- 2 lbs fresh mussels, cleaned (above instructions);
- 3 tbsp Paleo cooking fat;
- 1/4 cup shallots or onions, minced;
- 1 1/4 cups dry white wine;
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley;
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme;
- 1 small bay leaf;
- Sea salt and pepper to taste;
- Zest of 1 lemon;
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped;
- Prior to do any of the cooking for this recipe, make sure that you’ve followed the above instructions on how to clean the mussels and discard the dead ones.
- In a very large skillet over a medium-high heat, melt the cooking fat and sauté the shallots or onions until translucent and tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the wine, parsley sprigs, thyme and bay leaf. Turn up the heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer, allowing the wine to reduce. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the mussels and cover the skillet completely. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, being sure to toss the covered skillet a few times.
- After about 4 minutes, all the shells should have opened. Any shells that have not opened at this time are no good and must be discarded. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Remove the bay leaf.
- Serve drenched in the white wine sauce and sprinkle with lemon zest and chopped parsley.