Mussels are the easiest and quickest meal to make at home. Not only is it cheap but you get to eat with your hands. One of my favorite sayings is ‘that everything tastes better when you eat with your hands’. Growing up, the only way my parents could get me to eat salad is by allowing me to eat it with my hands! Messy eating aside, let’s get back to the gun show: mussels!
My absolutely favorite way to make mussels is my spicy Thai version that I cooked up with my mom years ago when she was in town visiting. Although they are mouth-wateringly delicious, lately I’ve been finding myself looking for other ways of preparing mussels. Steaming them in a broth is the best way to get this meal done because it is so easy. Once you’ve settled on your “broth” base, it is only a matter of minutes before these little mollusks are ready to be scooped out. This is the latest version I came up with:
Dill-Turmeric Steamed Mussels
- One tbsp oil, any regular veggie oil will do the job
- One medium onion, halved then sliced
- Two garlic cloves chopped
- One bell pepper, julienne (aka. cut into thin strips)
- One tomato, chopped
- Two cups of dry Vermouth
- One tbsp of turmeric
- One tsp of cayenne pepper or to taste
- One pound bag of mussels, scrubbed and rinsed
- One bunch of fresh dill, coarsely chopped
- Two green onions, chopped
The first thing you want to do when it comes to mussels is to scrub and clean them under cold running water. Keep an eye out for the ones with broken shells and discard them. Drizzle the oil in a large pot and sauté the onions, garlic and bell peppers on medium-high heat until soft and slightly caramelized. Add the tomatoes and stir in the Vermouth, turmeric and cayenne. Bring the heat down to medium and let the “broth” simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the mussels, dill and green onion. Stir delicately to coat them with the broth. Cover and steam until all the mussels are cooked, stirring occasionally. The mussels are ready when they have opened – should take no more than 10 minutes or so. Serve into bowls. A classic side for this dish is fries, so don’t forget to bake up your favorite frozen kind to dip in this flavorful broth.
Finally, there is no need for forks here: the best way to eat mussels is to use the shells to nab out the meat. If you encounter mussels that haven’t opened, better to discard them. In no time flat you have a perfect “moules frites” (aka mussels and fries) for two!
If ever you have some broth left over, it makes an excellent base to poach fish or even chicken. Not only are you reusing leftovers that you probably would have thrown out, but you are creating a second meal that requires minimum prep. Simply add some rice and sauté extra veggies as a side!