Recipes for mussels bring you the succulent flavour of the sea; how I've missed them since retiring from Holland. The good news is that I'll be back in the summer of 2016 to do a locum in Dordrecht. You know what I'll be feasting on.
This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 16th January, 2019.
Recipes for mussels are as Dutch as clogs and dykes. The tides and sand banks of the Waddenzee make perfect breeding grounds for growing shellfish.
It's become a specialised family business, handed down from father to son for generations, taking at least three years before they are large enough to be reaped.
The saltwater mussel, same as whales oddly, feeds in the main on plankton which are tiny sea plants and animals floating in the water. Most mussels that you will find today in shops are the blue mussel and, though they’re cultivated commercially, they are still fed by the sea.
I've just spent the summer of 2011 in Holland. Though it was a miserable Dutch summer, Spring was one of the warmest on record with record levels of plankton. The result was three times in nine weeks, recipe steamed mussels was on the menu.
Before buying your mussels have a good look at them. Check the sell by date. If it’s not several days hence, don’t buy them. Are many broken, and are the shells open? Move on, or wait for another day. Ask the attendant on which days the fresh mussels arrive.
You’ll pay more for the bigger mussels for their plump and juicy flesh, but the small ones taste just as good. I choose for freshness rather than size.
Why? I’m very rarely sick, but never will I forget the four day diarrhoea after eating mussels for the first time, albeit at a restaurant in Brugge. Have you ever been to Belgium? Put it on your must see list, but avoid the film, I’m told; the mussels too. Once a shellfish dies it can make you awfully sick; I know.
So, choose mussels that are in the main tightly closed, and always eat them on the same day you buy them.
As soon as I get home
An apology for the photographs; I'll retake them on my next visit to Holland.
For these delic recipes for mussels dishes you need some aromatic vegetables. It’s important to add fibre to your meal anyway, and this is the place to do it. I like a leek, some carrots, and good handful of parsley benefits and perhaps a few cloves of garlic. Shallots, chives, a stick of celery, add your favourites. No reason not to add a vegetable like broccoli too. If you like Oriental food try adding coconut milk, ginger and hot chilli, and other flavours like lemongrass.
Meantime, drain your mussels completely; and I mean completely. Tap those in your basin a last few times. Those that are obviously dead, discard. I used to toss the slightly dubious ones too, but I haven’t had a second bad experience, so I usually use them now. Your call…
It's worth taking the time when it comes to recipes for mussels; I no longer resent the time taken preparing good food; it's well spent and we either spend it or suffer the gross sicknesses of fast TV dinners.
"I enjoy cooking with wine; sometimes I even put it in the food I'm cooking!"
Recipes for mussels can be cooked in a jiffy but preparing them takes a few minutes.
How to cook mussels is really dead easy, right? Make haste; take your steaming mussels directly to the table, and scoop them into large bowls together with the veggies, on a bed of wild brown rice; the juicy bouillon too, with a dab of butter on the rice if your cholesterol is in order.
This year I must have been a little generous with the white wine, because at the end of one meal, I had half a pint of mussel bouillon left over. Mmm, what to do with it? Aha...
Tip; because I make our authentic hummus recipe at least twice a week, it takes only four minutes, after all, I keep a large stock of cooked chickpeas in the freezer.
So, another of our recipes for mussels. Fry the onion in a little butter, add the tomato and the chili and the stock, the chickpeas, and simmer for ten minutes. Sprinkle with a little parsley, and if you want to be disgusting, add a teaspoon of whipped cream to each bowl; if your cholesterol is in order, which it must be if you follow the recipes at my sites. Just another of our saltwater mussels recipes; it's stunningly good.
Chickpeas incidently are second only to Quaker oats recipes in lower cholesterol. Eat oats and chickpeas every day, and an apple, and you can almost certainly dump the rest of your cholesterol medication, with their nasty side effects.
Shellfish get a lot of bad press, but what are the facts? Are they high in cholesterol or... MUSSEL FACTS.
As you probably know there has been an explosion of autoimmune diseases in the last century; diabetes, MS, pernicious anaemia and a host of very rare conditions that are no longer so unusual. No one is really sure of the reason but it certainly has something to do with our Western lifestyle, and probably the food we eat.
One of them attacks the lining of the stomach that produces a very special substance called Intrinsic Factor; without it you would die.
Whether it's the preservatives or food additives, antacids and a host of other drugs, cellphone radiation, solar storms, stress... the parietal cells that produce intrinsic factor in our stomach are dying; that means we can't absorbe enough vitamin B12. Many of us are marginally deficient, and some have a serious problem.
There are two solutions:
Eat as much B12 rich foods as we can on a regular basis; that means using recipes for mussels frequently, and several eggs a week.
Eggs are back, by the way. The American Heart Association no longer forbids them in the diet. In fact, bizarre as it seems, along with butter, they are being recommended again. There's a lot of fashion in food too, some so bad that we have to change it every year; like margarine.
Vitamin D is now being shown to be vital for a host of processes in the body from preventing heart disease, diabetes, hip pain and osteoporosis. We just don't get enough, especially if we live far from the Equator.
Delving regularly into recipes for mussels, and a daily walk in the sun, with a hat on, is part of the solution.
If you're interested, here's more on food rich in vitamin D.
Getting enough of the right fats in our diet has become absolutely vital in our increasingly diseased Western society. A huge part of that pain and disability is due to osteoarthritis; it's a complex subject, but an important part of the problem is our inflammatory diets; too much omega 6 and far too little omega-3.
That causes not only pain and disability in our muscles and joints, but also in our blood vessels and organs.
Painful back and hips? More exercise, less sitting, a chiropractic adjustment if there are fixations, but more omega-3 too.
Don't take pills; the research shows that omega 3 is more effective from eating foods rich in these vital fatty acids. Recipes for mussels and fatty fish like salmon, and freshly ground flaxseed is the solution to inflammation.
Worried about your weight? Cutting out all the fat in your diet is definitely the wrong way to shed those pounds. Apart from the fact you'll be constantly hungry, 60% of your brain is fat, and your nerves are coated in a vital fatty sheath.
Cutting out the high glycemic index carbohydrate, not the healthy fat, is the right way to lose weight.
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