I love mussels most when they are plump and full. The season may vary depending on where you live, but usually the shells are really full in late spring. Store-bought mussels are cultivated, usually grown on ropes, and they are quite clean.
I like medium-to-large mussels (about 18 per pound), as heavy as possible, which is an indication of quality. In this recipe, mussels are cooked until they open and then the empty halves of the shells are discarded. The juices are turned into a spicy sauce flavored with cilantro and the mussels served on the half shell with the sauce poured over.
Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 2 pounds mussels (about 30), full and heavy
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tsp. Sriracha or other hot sauce
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbs. dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp. potato starch, dissolved in 2 tbs. water
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Wash the mussels in a bowl of cold water, rubbing them against one another, and remove the beards, if any.
Place the mussels in a deep saucepan along with the wine, hot sauce, oils, and soy sauce. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, shaking the pan to move the mussels around. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until all the mussels have opened.
Pull off the empty shells, discarding them, and arrange the mussels on the half shell in two soup plates.
Add the potato starch mixture to the juices in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, and stir in the cilantro. Pour over the mussels and serve immediately.
Excerpted from JACQUES PÉPIN QUICK & SIMPLE © 2020 by Jacques Pépin. Photography © 2020 by Tom Hopkins. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.