Mussels with Celery & Onion
Just in case you didn’t know: I come from Belgium. Mussels or ‘mosselen met frietjes’ in Belgium is a national dish. Mussels with Belgian fries in other words, or I’m sure you must have heard of ‘moules frites’ right?! Anyway, as long as it’s got fries, I’ll eat it.
How much does a portion of mussels cost at a restaurant? Portions are normally a generous 2 lbs (1 kg) to a small 3 lbs (1,2 kg). Prices for simple mussels in celery like mine will cost about 22 to 25 dollars (20 to 23 euros), and that’s normally with a salad and portion of fries included.
Did you know that there are many kinds of mussels? In my opinion: the smaller the mussels the better. And if I have to name a specific kind of mussel I love the most, then I would definitely pick the French bouchot mussels. Bouchot mussels are the best ever. Period. I’m not saying that the fattier plump ones aren’t any good, on the contrary. But I like my mussels like my oysters: small, meaty and rich.
In France, bouchot mussels are protected by AOP status, which means that they have to originate from the bay of Mont Saint-Michel in France to carry that name. Why is their taste so good? Well bouchot mussels are grown on ropes strung from wooden poles in the sea. By doing that the mussels stay grit and barnacle-free which makes the mussel extra meaty and very delicate in flavor.
I sometimes add a little bit of freshly chopped red chili to these mussels with celery below instead of freshly ground black pepper. And I even like a handful of fresh cilantro in it as well if I have some in my fridge. Just to spice things up a bit. Enjoy these mussels with celery, fresh thyme and white wine! Bon appétit…
My favorite then? Simple mussels with celery, onion, garlic and white wine... classic!
- 4 lbs fresh mussels (1,8 kg), cleaned
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3 stalks fresh celery with leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves chopped
- 1 large glass dry white wine
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Pour the olive oil in a large and high pan and place it over medium-high heat until hot. Then add the chopped onion and garlic.
Quickly stir fry the onion and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes. Chop the fresh celery and leaves up. Then also add them to the pan together with the fresh thyme and bay leaves. Season with a dash of pepper and salt.
Stir well. Let the vegetables cook for 3 more minutes. Then add the rinsed and drained fresh mussels to the pan.
Cover the pan. Cook the mussels for 6 minutes. Shake the pan a couple of times to make sure the mussels and the vegetables are mixed well. Then add the white wine.
Stir the mussels well using a slotted spoon. Then cover the pan again and let the mussels cook for 5 more minutes until the mussels are open. Check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste. Then scoop the cooked mussels into large bowls and top with the remaining onion, celery and wine. Serve with golden fries.
These mussels with celery is my favourite like I already said. Below you an find 2 more mussel recipes. But if you love cooking mussels at home, then you should also take a look at a couple of other mussel recipes that I prepared before:
- mussels in beer and blue cheese sauce
- cold mussels with tomato vinaigrette (a super fresh summer appetizer bite)
- mussels with tomatoes (mussels provencal)
- Vietnamese BBQ mussels with fish sauce and peanuts
- mussels with bacon and onion
How To Clean Fresh Mussels
Are the mussels that you bought full of barnacles? Do you see any hairy bits protruding from the inside then? Let me show you how to clean fresh mussels before cooking them because here is how I get to work at home when I just bought fresh mussels:
Here's how I get to work at home when I bought fresh mussels.
Put the mussels in a large bowl or pan, sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and add tap water until the mussels are fully submerged. If you aren't going to cook them right away, put the mussels in the fridge. Remove the mussels from the fridge one hour before you intend to cook them. Let them rest at room temperature. You'll see that in the end there will be a fine layer of sand on the bottom of the bowl or pan.
Here's why. Fresh mussels are (by lack of another word) comatose because they've been kept in refrigerators for a couple of hours before they finally made it into your kitchen. And the mussels are dehydrated because they are not kept in water. So adding them back to water (especially salty water) will revive them. Give the mussels some time to wake up. They will start spitting out sand that is still in their shells, which is a normal cleaning process.
All this is to our advantage. First of all it'll be much easier for you to spot a dead mussel. So if an open mussel that has soaked for a while in water still doesn't close when you press both shells shut, it's probably dead. If you're not sure, check the smell. If the mussel smells bad, you definitely have to get rid of it. Also remove all the mussels with broken shells. Secondly, the mussels will be less gritty if they've had time to spit out sand.
Strain the mussels and discard the salty sandy water. Rinse the mussels well. With the back of a knife blade remove any barnacles or other impurities on the shells. It should all come off easily. This goes best under running tap water. Also remove any hairy bits coming from inside. Just rip them off. They are inedible and unpleasantly chewy.
Once the mussels are all cleaned, transfer them to a large sieve and then rinse them again. The mussels are ready to be cooked now!
Mussels with White Wine
Another recipe for mussels in white wine, I guess it won’t get any easier than that. To crank the flavors up a little more I just add some garlic, onion and a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley in the end. That’s it. That’s all these gorgeous fatty mussels need. This is not my only mussel recipe: also try my mussels provencal or how about some blue cheese and beer mussels?
Great sides that go well with these mussels: grilled bread. But I’m from Belgium so I can never say no to a portion of golden fries. With mayo of course. Loads of them!
- 4 lbs fresh mussels (1,8 kg), cleaned
- 1 cup dry white wine (240 ml)
- a handful fresh parsley chopped finely
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1 small red onion
- olive oil
- Peel the red onion and the garlic cloves. Then slice the onion finely and chop up the garlic in small bits. In a large and high pan pour a little olive oil and place it over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and onion. Season with a pinch of pepper and salt.
- Stir and gently cook the onion and garlic for 4 minutes. Then add the drained mussels to the pan.
- Give the mussels a very good stir using a slotted spoon and cook them for 3 minutes. Then pour in the dry white wine.
- Stir the mussels well again and cover the pan. Cook the mussels for another 6 to 8 minutes or until they are all open and cooked in the end. Shake the pan regularly. Once the mussels are cooked, add the freshly chopped parsley to the pan.
- Check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste if necessary. Stir one last time. Then scoop the cooked mussels and onion in large bowls and drizzle with the remaining white wine and mussel juice. Serve the mussels hot.
Green Curry Mussels
I love shellfish so much! How about you, do you like mussels then? Have you ever tasted or even prepared a spicy Thai green curry with mussels? The very first time that I made this curry recipe, the hubs was so impressed by the combination. True, if you expect a classic mussel recipe like the mussels with celery or white wine and garlic versions that you just read about above then you’ll be amazed. Because you are in for a real surprise here. Who would have thought that mussels go so extremely well with Asian flavors!I served this green mussel curry or soup (whatever you like, both sound good and taste the same) as a starter. No need to say you can double the portion and make it a main dish.
- 16 fresh mussels cleaned
- 1 tbsp Thai green curry paste
- 1 cup coconut milk (240 ml)
- 3 tsp fresh ginger grated
- 1 small red chili
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- a handful fresh cilantro chopped
- ½ tsp caster sugar or palm sugar
- 1 fresh lime
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- In a large non-stick pan pour the vegetable oil and place it over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the green curry paste.
- Stir well and gently stir fry the curry paste for about 2 minutes. Then pour in the coconut milk.
- Stir well until the paste is more or less dissolved. Crush the lemongrass stalk under the blade of you knife and add it to the coconut milk together with the lime, the palm sugar (or caster sugar), fish sauce and the dried red chili pepper.
- Simmer the curry sauce for 5 more minutes. Then add the cleaned mussels.
- Shake the pan a little. Put a lid on the pan, turn the heat to medium and cook the mussels in the curry sauce for a good 6 to 8 minutes until the shells are all opened.
- Check the seasoning and add extra fish sauce or sugar to taste if necessary. Take the pan off the heat. Divide the cooked mussels evenly over deep plates and drizzle with the remaining green curry sauce. Finish with some fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.