We have a new fishmonger that just opened today (very excited as it is one that buys its stock straight from the boats and the quality is amazing - not a massive choice, but I quite like that -we have been known to drive up to the coast just for fish, for special dinners!)
So, to prepare mussels - a few pointers. Once you have removed the side beards and thrown those that are opened away, rinse and change the water three times making sure that you move them about so they change their water as if it was a tide. Let them rest a few minutes each time. As for the cooking liquid, either cream or wine, reduced by half so as to get a better base flavour and it also allows your herbs and seasoning to infuse for about 7 to10 minutes on a mid heat. Keep an eye on the cream though! The mussel juices will run into the reduction and the marriage will be complete.
One of my loves (yes another one!) is this :
First sent over by my excellent friend Harriet from New York, I always get some when I am in Canada. Amazing stuff, but you can achieve a nice version at home with three bay leaves and some cayenne pepper (not the same but it will have to do!!)
So, prepare the mussels. Into a large saucepan (with the lid nearby!), heat a cup of cream and add your 'Old Bay' about half a teaspoon or three bay leaves (if fresh roll them around your fingers to release their oils) and add a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
Mussels in on a high heat and cook a few minutes until they are opened.
We had the compulsory baguette to finish the mussel sauce and thrice cooked "frites" (I need a whole post for those!!!)
Lunch on our new deck with a begging pug couldn't have been better!