We source mussels from throughout the Puget Sound including Penn Cove Shellfish, Taylor Shellfish Farms, Jones Family Farms and Salt Spring Island for special catering events and for Coho Restaurant’s menu. Our favorite shell fish are the mussels and clams that are farm-raised at Westcott Bay Shellfish Company on the west side of San Juan Island. They are sweet and meaty and oh so delicious. This is an old standby recipe with many wonderful and delicious variations. The method is essentially the same for mussels or clams. The best part is the dipping sauce – make sure you have some crusty European bread at the ready. If there is any sauce left, you can save it as a stock for a seafood paella or seafood cioppino.
1 pound Mussels
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoons Shallot, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, sliced
4 Tablespoons White wine, beer or Sambuca or Pernod
4 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped
1) Debeard 1 pound mussels and run cold water over them. Remove any mussels that smell off or do not close when gently tapped. Drain the water and set aside. If not using immediately, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate. Never store mussels in standing water.
2) In a sauté pan large enough to accommodate all the mussels, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
3) Add shallots, chili flakes, and garlic. Cook until the shallots are wilted and the garlic is golden.
4) Add the mussels and toss to coat. Add a liberal splash of white wine and cover the pan.
5) Simmer several minutes until the mussels have popped open. Sprinkle with 3 Tablespoons of parsley. Taste the broth with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
6) With a slotted spoon place the mussels in a warm shallow bowl, discarding any that have not opened. Pour the pan sauce over the mussels and sprinkle with more parsley. Serve with warm, crusty bread and eat immediately.
Variations: Add 4 Tablespoons Chopped Fennel or tomatoes or some coconut cream in lieu of the alcohol and some chopped lemon grass and ginger for an Asian style preparation.
When you are visiting San Juan Island, stop by Westcott Bay and pick up a couple of pounds of shellfish and prepare them in your unit’s kitchen or grill them on one of the main decks at the Tucker House Inn.