Mussels in minutes.
Try that mantra during a month full of errands and impromptu dinners.
The butter takes on a more pungent garlic flavor if left to infuse for an hour or two; if time is a premium, compensate by tossing additional garlic into the butter. (The amount of butter may seem excessive. Not true if you wish to have sufficient sauce to sop up with bread or toss with pasta.)
- 5 to 10 cloves large garlic
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 6 pounds live mussels cleaned and rinsed (discard any that do not respond to a tap on the shell by closing)
- French bread or cooked linguine pasta
Using the flat side of a chef's knife, first smash the garlic, then finely chop it.
In a skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside. (Set aside for at least 20 minutes for the flavors to meld or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.)
In a large pot, pour enough water to measure about 1 inch deep. Add the salt and mussels, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and steam the mussels until the shells open, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the opened mussels to a large platter, allowing as little water as possible to cling to the shells. Discard any mussels that do not open.
Meanwhile, reheat the garlic butter over low heat. Pour the warm butter over the hot mussels. Serve immediately with bread or linguine.
Adapted from "The New England Clam Shack Cookbook" by Brooke Donjy (Storey Books, 2003).
Tested by Renee Schettler.
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