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mussles, beer, and bread

Last week, I spoke about my love for the mussels at Tarbell’s Restaurant. Well, I haven’t been able to get them off my mind since, so that means only one thing… make some! This recipe is adapted very slightly from Mark Tarbell’s recipe on his website.

There can be one little itty bitty problem with mussels (bivalvia mollusca) and their cousin, clams. The grit and sand sometimes found inside can ruin an otherwise perfect meal. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is an easy way to get the mussels to give up their sand.

You just dissolve about 1/4 cup salt in a large bowl or pot filled with cold tap water and add the mussels and enough cold water to cover them. Then sprinkle with cornmeal. Soak for 2 hours or overnight, uncovered, in the refrigerator. The mussels will actually take in the cornmeal and expel the grit or sand. Before using, rinse the mussels and scrub if scruffy-looking, and snip off the “beards” (dark threads) with scissors. If mussels have opened slightly before cooking, tap the shell. They should snap shut. Discard any mussels that don’t pass the tap test, as well as any that fail to open during cooking. And be sure to have plenty of warm and toasty bread to soak up all the delicious juices!

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January 15, 2011   1 Comment