Steamed Mussels in White Wine
Many many years ago in the last century I was in Paris at a very friendly restaurant where I had mussels for the first time in my life. And instantly, mussels became one of my favorite dishes. They served it in a small red pan, with fresh crunchy baguette. It was very tasty and since then I have eaten it a lot of times.
Mussels are very popular in Belgium, The Netherlands and France, consumed with French fries, bread and mayo, it can be smoked, steamed, roasted, boiled, barbecued or fried in butter or oil. My other favorite is deep fried in beer batter coating, served with mayo or garlic sauce, not paleo I know. This one is very popular at the open-air markets.
When you make it at home, you should check the mussels to ensure they are still alive just before they are cooked. I know this might sound weird to some of you, but this is the most important rule, otherwise you will be very sick, you will get very serious food poisoning.
How you can check they are alive? Put fresh raw mussels into cold water, fresh mussels’ shells are closed, and some of them will be open. If the ones that are opened close back in cold water, they are alive and good to use. Any shell that remains open or is broken after cold water check should be thrown out, they are not fresh and should not be consumed. Remember this is the golden rule when cooking and eating mussels.
Mussels have the most impressive nutritional profile of all shellfish. They contain high levels of highly desirable long chain fatty acids which have many beneficial effects, including improving brain function and reducing inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Mussels are a rich source of vitamins, good source of important minerals, such as zinc, which helps build immunity, and even contain high levels of iron and folic acid.
Mussels have another very important property, they are widely used as bio-indicators to monitor the health of aquatic environments in both fresh water and the marine environments. Mussels function as filters in water as everything passes through them and once collected biologist can assess the level of contamination with elements or compounds left behind.
Steamed Mussels in White Wine
- 1,2 kg fresh blue or black mussels in shell
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 leek about 30 cm long, cut into 4-5 mm wide slices
- 2 carrots about 16-18 cm long each, cut julienne aka matchsticks
- 1 parsley root about 10-12 cm long, cut julienne aka matchsticks
- 1 celery stick about 12-14 cm long, slice finely
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper freshly ground
- 350 ml white wine I prefer a good quality Chardonnay
- 1 big bunch parsley chop finely
- Put raw mussels into cold water. It is very important for two reasons, on the one hand to wash off the sand and on the other hand to check which mussels are fresh, alive or not. Only use fresh mussels, otherwise you can get serious food poisoning. Fresh mussels’ shells are closed, if some of them are a bit opened but they are closing in the cold water, they are fresh and usable.
- Throw opened and broken raw mussels out, never use them!
- Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a big and deep enough pan. (My pan is 7 cm deep and its diameter is 30 cm. Mussels need place when their shells open during the steaming.)
- Add sliced leek, minced garlic, carrots, parsley root and celery stick into the pan, season it with salt and pepper and sauté on medium heat for 4 minutes.
- Add white wine and bubble on high heat for 1 minute.
- Add ½ part of finely cut parsley, stir it and put closed raw mussels into the pan. Cover with lid and steam them for 4-6 minutes, until the mussels are opened. Shake the pan several times vigorously.
- Some of mussels will be not opened, because they were not fresh, they are not edible, discard any mussels that haven’t open.
- Sprinkle the top with the rest of the parsley and serve it with fresh gluten free bread to mop up the sauce, fried sweet potato or cassava, and homemade mayo.