Mussels must be alive when you
cook them. As Paul Johnson explains in his award-winning cookbook,
Fish Forever, test to ensure the mussels are alive by pressing
the shells of open ones together. If they are alive, they will
react and try to close.
When you are pressed for time,
farmed mussels need only a good rinse before going into the pot;
cook them just until their shells open. Avoid overcooking mussels,
which toughens them, and discard any cooked mussels that remain
Mussels with Lemon and Herbs - Makes 4 servings.
8 (1 inch) slices Italian or
French peasant bread
1 garlic clove, halved
2 pounds mussels
1 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup fat free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped oregano leaves
Toast or grill bread. Rub each slice with garlic clove. Discard
garlic and set bread aside.
In colander, rinse mussels well
under cold running water and pull off any fibers from the shell
(known as beard). Set the mussels aside to drain
Sprinkle onions over bottom
of medium-size Dutch oven or heavy pot with tight-fitting lid.
Heap mussels on top of the onions. Add broth and 1/2 cup water.
Cover pot and set over high heat until liquid boils. Reduce heat
to medium and cook until shells of mussels have opened, about
5 minutes. Pour lemon juice and olive oil over hot mussels.
With slotted spoon, transfer
mussels to 4 individual, shallow bowls. Check for any that have
not opened and discard them. Pour liquid from pot (including
onions) over mussels. Sprinkle on parsley and oregano. Serve
immediately, accompanied by garlic-rubbed bread for dipping into
Per serving: 360 calories, 10
g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 33 g carbohydrate, 31 g protein,
2 g dietary fiber, 540 mg sodium.