I’ve been wanting to post my “Mussel Matrix” for a while, but needed to work through it at least once more.
Steamed mussels are so easy to make, and it’s easy to combine really bold flavours without it being too overpowering. I’ve been obsessed with mussels for the last couple of years, and we had finally found our favourite place in town… and now we find out that it closed.
I guess I’ll just have to make my own personal mussel restaurant.
When I was first looking into making mussels, I found that many of the simple steamed mussel recipes were pretty similar. Just swap out seasonings, veggies, liquids, and you get a totally different dish! Being a bit of a spreadsheet nerd, I thought it would be a good idea to make a matrix of ingredients that you could use with a simple recipe that could work every time.
So here it is!
- Olive oil (just to coat the pot)
- 2 tablespoons butter (optional – for flavour)
- Garlic, chopped – 1/2 clove per lb of mussels
|Category||Amt per lb of mussels||Amt for 4lb of mussels||Beer & Veg||Tomato Gorgonzola||Mediterranean|
|Liquid||appx ½C – 2/3C||2C||Lager||White Wine||1oz Ouzo (or other anise liquor), the rest White Wine|
|Onion/shallots/leeks||1tsp chopped or sliced||1/4c||Shallots||Scallions (white part only) or white onion||Leeks (light part, thinly sliced)|
|Spices||1 – 2 tsp total||appx 1 Tbsp total||black pepper||black pepper, 1 tsp chili flakes|
(to be added before mussels)
|1-2tsp lemon rind||2 tbsp gorgonzola cheese|
|Veggies||appx 1/4C||1C||Mushrooms, red peppers, jalapenos (all thinly sliced for quick cooking) grape tomatoes (halved)||Mushrooms (thinly sliced), grape tomatoes (halved)||Fennel bulb, red pepper (all thinly sliced), grape tomatoes (halved)|
|Herbs||1 – 2 tsp total (dried)
1 tbsp total (fresh)
4 tbsp (fresh)
|Basil, tarragon||Basil, tarragon||Oregano, black pepper|
(to be added to serve)
|A good squeeze of lemon juice, and some chopped chives||Scallions (green part, sliced)
1-2 tbsp more gorgonzola, cubed
|Cubed feta cheese, Leeks (green part, very thinly sliced)|
- Heat large pot or a Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil and melt the butter.
- Add items from onion category and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. If your recipe calls for mushrooms, add them now.
- Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant. If your recipe called for dried spices (not herbs), add them now.
- Add ½ c of the liquid, add the items from the “Other A” category and mix well.
- Gently add the mussels to the pot.
- Add the veggies, the herbs and the rest of the liquid. Cover, and bring to a boil briefly – be sure to keep an eye on it! Turn the temperature down to medium and cook until the shells open. Part way through, shake the pan or gently turn the mussels in the pot, to ensure even cooking.
- Toss or top with the items from the “Other B” category.
- Scoop out some mussels with some broth into a nice deep bowl.
Mussels are great served with sourdough bread and/or frites, and go amazingly well with both wine and beer!