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Posted: 9/6/2010 3:06:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2010 3:07:50 PM EDT by arowneragain]
I have a treat for you:

Some weeks ago, the missus and I were in Wal-Mart, and I, large child that I am, wandered off, window-shopping the seafood aisle whilst the wife waited for the deli lady to slice up a pound of hard salami.

Guess what I found?

Wal-Mart sells frozen Mussels (from Chile, IIRC), 2 pounds for $4.

Go do this:

-Buy a pack
-Thaw
-open shells, separate mussel from shell, discard one half of shell, place mussel on other
-set prepared mussels in a pan or baking sheet
-mix 4 parts mayo, 2 parts soy sauce, 1 part Sriracha (adjust to suit, that's a rough guide)
-spread mixture, about 1/8th tablespoon per mussel.
-add a tiny slice of cheddar cheese (a pinch of shredded cheese will work) to each mussel

-bake or grill (use whatever device needs to be warmed to cook the main course) until bubbly

-let cool slightly

-eat.


This is the part where I'd normally add a dinner picture, but 1) this wasn't dinner, and 2) I was too busy scarfing down mussels to snap a picture a few minutes ago when this idea hit me.

There you have it:

An appetizer fit for a king,that's plenty for two people (or four if you're having company and people will restrain themselves) for under $3.


edit: we've prepared this appetizer several times now, and it's FABULOUS. Friday night I was at a sushi place and paid $8 for a smaller version of this same dish.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 3:08:55 PM EDT
Thanks for the intel...

I love some mussles....

Hard to find out here on the desert....
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 3:09:23 PM EDT
What was your oven settings? Foil under the mussels on the pan?

Thanks for the post OP, seriously. I fucking love seafood.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 3:13:37 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Slavac:
What was your oven settings? Foil under the mussels on the pan?

Thanks for the post OP, seriously. I fucking love seafood.


Yes, foil under the mussels.

When I'm putting them on the grill, I just prepare them on a doubled piece of foil, slide the whole thing onto the grill, and slide it back onto a plate after cooking.

Temperature......don't know. Whatever the grill's at while warming up, whatever the oven's on while the wife's starting the side dishes for supper....just get them hot enough to bubble the cheese. A minute or two on 'lo' broil doesn't hurt, either - but really, there's no reason to try to be precise. Just get 'em hot enough to kill whever bacteria hitch-hiked up from Chile.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 3:19:18 PM EDT
Picture of the package, about 9"x12"x1.5"

Link Posted: 9/6/2010 3:22:09 PM EDT
My local Kroger used to have New Zealand green-lipped mussels (my favorites) in a 5lb fresh bag for a real reasonable price and I couldn't buy them fast enough. Now all they carry is a frozen two pound thingy from somewhere and charge 3 times as much and they suck.

When I can get them fresh I like to make a seafood stew.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 3:25:27 PM EDT
I love them!
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:09:28 PM EDT
Originally Posted By gomulego:
My local Kroger used to have New Zealand green-lipped mussels (my favorites) in a 5lb fresh bag for a real reasonable price and I couldn't buy them fast enough. Now all they carry is a frozen two pound thingy from somewhere and charge 3 times as much and they suck.

When I can get them fresh I like to make a seafood stew.


Probably Viet Nam, or Thailand. Sorry I wouldn't trust them.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:13:57 PM EDT
I go to Taylors over on Samish Bay and get the fresh Mediterranean Mussels a 4 lb bag will last about 6.5 minutes.

Oh, and a quart of fresh shucked medium Pacific oysters too.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:16:39 PM EDT
Mmmmm, have to try. Of course nothing beats fresh mussels in Belgium.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:24:10 PM EDT
I always scarf them up at the chinese buffets. I have even seen people eat them raw right from the ocean on TV.

Walmart pisses me off because they are not consistent in the foods they offer. A case in point is beef tongue. I love it, but you can only find them at walmart in cities with large Hispanic populations.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:26:16 PM EDT


When I was a kid my Dad used to bring home fresh oysters and place them on the BBQ......once they began to open he'd remove them (wearing a glove) and separate the shells. The one on which the oyster stayed attached to he'd return to the grill (shell forming a little like 'bowl'), shake a couple drops of hot sauce on said oster, place a small slice of bacon on top, followed by a piece of cheddar cheese. Eat when bacon is ready.......hot damn!!
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:41:54 PM EDT
a couple of recipes
Mussels Steamed On The Grill
Ingredients: 2 lbs mussels, 6-8 Tbsp. white wine, 1 tsp. thyme
Instructions: For each appetizer serving, place 8-12 mussels on a rectangle of heavy-duty foil. Shape foil to hold liquid and add 1 Tbsp. white wine and 1
tsp. thyme to each packet. Seal and place on grill about 5 minutes, or until shells open. Each packet makes 1 appetizer serving. Serves 6 as appetizer.

Maine Cocktail Mussels
Ingredients: 2 lbs mussels, steamed, removed from shell, and chilled.
Cocktail Sauce: 2 cups tomato catsup, 4 tbsp. horseradish
4 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, juice of 2 lemons
Instructions: Combine sauce ingredients and chill. Serve with mussels on hors d'oeuvre plate. Can also be served in half shell over a bed of lettuce with sauce on top. Serves 4.

Mussel Mozzarella
Ingredients: 2 lbs mussels, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, 2 Tbsp. chopped chives, 2 cloves garlic finely minced, dash red pepper (cayenne),
freshly ground black pepper, 12 oz. mozzarella cheese (shredded), lemon wedges, rock salt.
Instructions: Steam mussels in water or wine until open. Discard top shell and drain bottom shells with meat. Pre-heat broiler to 450 degrees. Saute parsley, chives, garlic and peppers in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Mix in bowl with mozzarella cheese. Spread small jelly-roll pan or 9x13 inch pan with rock salt on bottom. Spoon cheese-herb mixture on each mussel to fill shell, and pat down evenly. Place mussels on rock salt (to prevent them rolling over). Broiling until mussels until toasted. Serve 3-4 mussels per person with lemon wedges.

Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:42:53 PM EDT
With Tobacco sauce...
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:45:29 PM EDT
Here's an ancient article I wrote on mussels........some might find it of interest...........


SEASHORE FORAGING



By
David M. Fortier

What would you do to survive? If cast into a seemingly hopeless situation how would you react? Would you lose heart, or would you steadfastly explore any and all possibilities no matter how foreign they may seem? Few can honestly answer this question without having found out the hard way. One man who faced this question was a sailor from Ireland named Patrick Walton. Shipwrecked on the shores of a foreign land far from home he found himself struggling to merely stay alive. Reduced to simply trying to gather enough food to survive each day, he remained steadfast in his determination to live. One day after noticing seabirds congregating in some nearby tidal flats, he set to work planting wooden poles there. With the poles planted, he stretched some salvaged nets between them in an attempt to trap some of the birds for food. As time went by he noticed that a specific type of mollusk was growing in clusters on the posts. After some contemplation he gathered some of the dark, clam like objects up and cooked them. Cautiously popping one into his mouth he was delighted to find it not only edible, but that it tasted great. Grinning he hungrily devoured his meal content in the knowledge that food was no longer a daily crisis.
The seashore can seem like a hostile, desolate, barren wasteland. To the person stranded there, or in need of help, the landscape can be both bleak and depressing. But it's an illusion. The Ocean teams with life, and so does the shore that it crashes against. You simply need to understand what your looking at. Living in Maine has given me ample opportunity to find this out first hand. With a coastline longer than even California's, Maine's rugged shore offers many lessons to those interested in learning. You simply need to see the seashore for what it is. The person who finds themselves in a survival situation there needs to understand that while it may look bleak, opportunity abounds.
Usually when one thinks of foraging for food some specific images come to mind. Hunting for small game animals, such as squirrels, with a .22 rifle may be one. Stalking larger animals such as deer or moose may be another. Or you may think of gathering edible plants growing wild, like berries or roots. All very good. The seashore, due to its own unique ecological system, offers the hungry individual many choices that are not available elsewhere. Food may found on the shore in many different guises, from periwinkles to crabs to seagulls. The trick is simply knowing what's available for dinner!
Patrick Walton, the Irish sailor mentioned earlier, stumbled across an excellent food source, the Mussel. The common Sea Mussel, found attached to rocks on the shores of Europe and America, is widely used as food and fishing bait. A bivalve marine mollusk closely related to oysters and scallops, the Mussel resembles a dark shelled clam. They are called 'filibranchiates' which means that the filaments, or branches, of their gills have interlocking bunches of hairlike Cilia. They are found around the world in both salt and fresh water varieties, the salt water mussels are not only edible but nutritious and tasty as well. Often seen as an expensive appetizer on restaurant menus, mussels were a staple of many Native American tribes. They not only provided food to eat, but their shells were used as tools and as a cutting edge on weapons. Today they are commercially farmed around the world for their food value.
America is a relative newcomer to the idea of farming seafood. Aquaculture has been practiced in the Far East since at least 500 B.C., and oyster culture was recorded by the early Greeks and Romans. France began its mussel cultivation by accident, when Patrick planted those poles in an attempt to catch seabirds. He did that over 700 years ago after being shipwrecked in the 13th Century. Today there are over 700 miles of mussel poles dotting the coast of France. Oak poles are placed in long rows some three feet apart. They are located on intertidal mudflats where they and the mussels that grow on them are exposed at low tide. The mussels can then be easily harvested. Spain cultivates mussels too, albeit in a slightly different manner. They use large rafts from which are hung approximately 700 ropes 30 feet in length. The mussels then grow clinging to these ropes. They began this practice in 1901 in Tarragona on the Mediterranean coast. Today this method has the highest yield of any mussel operation in the world, up to 300,000 pounds of meat per acre! The largest harvester of mussels in the world is China, with Spain ranked second, the United States 12th, and Canada ranking 19th. In all there are 17 species of edible mussels worldwide, of which most are being cultivated for human consumption.
So what does this mean for the person on the shore? Simply that there may be an abundant food supply right at their feet. Mussels grow in large numbers in beds and are usually easily harvested by simply picking them up at low tide. Yes that's right, by simply picking them up. The composition of mussel beds are around 90% mussels, the other 10% being a variety of other species living in and on the colonies. Kelp uses the shells as anchors, barnacles settle in, shrimp and small fish make feeding excursions to and from the beds. Starfish and green crabs make meals of the mussels, as do seagulls. Sea cucumbers, periwinkles, and other creatures find mussel neighborhoods to their liking. Many of these other inhabitants may also be tossed into the food pot.
A walk along the shore at low tide will allow you to scout for mussels. They tend to like rocky areas that they can fasten themselves onto in bunches. No special tools or equipment are needed, except for something to carry them in. Often they can be pulled up in clumps, other times they can be picked up out of the water singularly. Unlike game animals you don't have to stalk them, with uncertain results. Plus you'll never have a wounded one charge you. They don't migrate, so time of year is not an issue. Also whereas berries, fruits, vegetables, and roots are not available year round in many northern areas, mussels are. You can gather them in winter as well as summer, the only difference is the temperature you have to gather them in.
One thing to keep in mind when harvesting mussels is that they are filter feeders. A 2 1/2 inch mussel generally filters about 15 gallons of water a day looking for food. A quarter of the food mussels eat is living organisms, the rest is detritus-dead organic matter. Just one liter of sea water contains 10 to 20 million edible bits for mussels to graze on. However because they are filter feeders care must be taken to gather them away from areas with steady commercial boat traffic or pollution. Studies have shown that mussels are severely affected by chemical pollutants. It is interesting to note though that mussels are not immobile. They do possess a foot and if the water quality in their location does drop significantly they can release their byssus threads and crawl slowly away. However as they are filter feeders they should not be eaten raw.
Once you have collected a quantity of mussels what do you do with them? First wash them off, you can use seawater to do this. Next sort through the mussels you have collected and discard any dead ones, or broken shelled ones. Also discard any heavy mud filled mussels. One pound of mussels in the shell will yield 3.5 ounces of raw meat. So if you gather approximately 5 pounds of mussels per person, an easy task, you will have over a pound of meat each. The simplest and most common way of cooking mussels is to simply steam them. This is relatively quick and easy to do and can be accomplished over a fire made from drift wood using seawater. Simply cook them until their shells open. However this method does require a pot or kettle, and you may not have the luxury of having one in every situation. If you have some metal available to make a grill out of you can actually barbecue them. To do this, start a fire and let it burn down to medium hot coals. Then place your grill about four inches above the coals. Place the mussels on the grill in one even layer. Cover, if possible, and cook for about five minutes. Remove them from the heat when their shells are open and the meat pulls away from the shell. This is a great way to cook mussels if you have some salsa to dip them in.
What about if you have absolutely nothing to prepare food with or on? Your stranded on a beach, cold wet and hungry. The only things you have are your clothes and a fire source. What do you do? First relax, many, many people have been in the same situation and survived. I would suggest first gathering a large quantity of driftwood, and then some rocks. The oldest method of preparing mussels, dating from the colonial time-period, calls for excavating a shallow pit in the sand. This can easily be accomplished using nothing more than your hands and a little exertion. Then line the inside of the pit with rocks. The idea being that the rocks will absorb the heat from the fire you will build on top of them and slow cook your food. Carefully choose some tinder and kindling and build your fire. Take your time on this and do it right, no fire means no heat, no hot food, no rescue signal, and no lifting of the spirits that a fire naturally gives. Once lit keep it going and let it burn to heat the rocks until they are red hot. As the fire is burning collect your mussels. Also collect a large quantity of seaweed or rockweed. Place this on top of the rocks after they have reached the proper temperature and you have let the fire burn down. Then place your mussels and any other food that you may have gathered on top of this bed of wet seaweed. Food can include periwinkles, clams, fish, seagulls, potatoes, etc.. Cover your food items with additional sea or rockweed that is very wet. You may want to place a stone or two on top to keep everything in place. This may now be covered over with sand, however remember to mark the spot! The idea is to use the heat from the rocks and the moisture from the seaweed to steam cook the food. The mussels will be properly cooked when their shells open. While this takes some time, it also allows you to work on other projects while your meal is cooking. One word of caution, make sure that you dig your pit far enough away from the water that the incoming tide won't cover it!
What about after the meal is cooked and you've sat back and ate until you were contentedly full? Mussels may be easy to gather, simple to cook, and taste quite good, but what does your body get out of a meal of them? Surprisingly, they actually provide a substantial amount of nutrition. They actually contain more protein than T-bone steak, with only one quarter of the calories and almost no fat. According to the Food and Drug Administration's criteria, mussels are an extra lean meat. Not only that but seafood dramatically reduces the risk of cardiac arrest. Omega-3, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid, is found primarily in seafood. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Oct. 1995) found: "An intake of 5.5 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids per month was associated with a 50% reduction in the risk of primary cardiac arrest." When it comes to Omega-3, mussels have more of it than any other shellfish. An interesting side note is the fact that one acre of farmed mussels can yield three tons of mussels per year. This is more protein than that produced by an acre of soybeans.
As your happily digesting your food stop and take a look at the shells you've discarded. Remember in a survival situation there is no such thing as trash, seashells are a very useful resource material. They are very hard and can make excellent projectile points and cutting edges. Native Americans of the Northwest were known to tip harpoons with mussel shells. For the man on the beach without a knife, knowing that seashells can be incredibly sharp when freshly broken may be invaluable. While they are not suitable for chisel like work, they are a little too brittle for that, they can work extremely well for many cutting tasks. To work seashells you can score and snap it to form blanks. You may even be able to score and snap it in the same manner that you would a piece of flint. However the best way to work seashells is to simply abrade them on a rock. To do this, rub the shell against course grained stones. By varying the grain of the rock and using water with the finest grained abrading stone, you will be able to create a very fine finish and some surprisingly sharp edges and points. If you need to perforate the shell, as for the eye of a needle, incise a groove in each side of the blank and work at making them deeper until they finally meet in the middle.
The mussels you collect can also be used as bait. You can remove some mussels from their shells and use them to try to catch other animals for food. They can be used as bait attached to a handline for catching fish or crabs. Seagulls will often be seen picking up mussels and dropping them onto rocks to break them open. Scavengers, they would be an obvious target for the hungry survivor. A line can have a simple hook attached and baited with a mussel and put out for a hungry gull to take it. There are many possibilities, simply use your imagination.
Patrick Walton was shipwrecked in the 13th Century on the shores of France. Yet due to his determination and willingness to adapt to his surroundings he not only survived but prospered. A small black mollusk, the mussel, enabled him to do this. For the person foraging for food on the seashore mussels can provide a filling meal, nutrients, and useful tools. They are simple to collect, easy to cook, and taste good. For the person foraging for food far from the smell of sea air, Patrick's example of steadfast determination and adaptation is a good example to remember. No matter your location, remember that others have faced similar circumstances (and much worse) and survived. Keep your wits, use your head, adapt to your surroundings and you will too.


For More Information on Mussels:
Great Eastern Mussel Farms at
WWW.EATMUSSELS.COM

Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:47:59 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:50:35 PM EDT
i ate them alot when I lived in Puget Sound Wa. got them fresh there, mussel farms in coupeville wa.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 5:00:03 PM EDT
simple steamed muscles or clams
2 qt pot with lid
1 cups of sliced onion
1 tlp butter
2-3 cups mussels

1cp white wine


saute onions in butter until they turn translucent.

dump musssels into pot, dump wine on top of mussels, cover pot with lid

steam about 10 min....
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