My friends are probably getting tired of hearing about my trip to the Georgia island where we went to the beach and got our clams and mussels for dinner. But it really was one of the best food experiences I've had so far this year. My previous post was all about the clams, but now I must rave about the mussels. I actually prefer mussels over clams. They are smaller than the clams we found, and the meat didn't seem quite as "chewy" as the clams. That small bit of meat in that mussel shell is like a little taste tease; you eat one and can hardly wait to fork into the next one.
The mussels were not easily harvested and seemed determined to stay attached to the rocks and shells in the oyster beds. The first time I ever picked mussels, they were easy to pluck from the rocks with my fingertips. But this time they were embedded deeper into the crevices of the oyster beds and were harder to pull out. I didn't relish the idea of having my hands all cut up from the jagged rocks, even though the result would be a fabulous dinner. Next time I'll remember to wear gloves or bring some pliers.
But our perseverance paid off and we did end up with enough mussels to satisfy our appetites. We steamed them in a mixture of white wine, garlic, and parsley, and served with melted butter. Pure heaven! I order mussels fairly often when I'm eating out, but I never remember eating any as good as these were. Myabe it was the company. Maybe it was the beauty of the island. Maybe it was the perfectly crisp white wine. Probably all of the above. If you can't run down to the beach and harvest some mussels, settle for a good seafood shop and enjoy some with your friends. Here are a couple of easy recipes to try: Mussels in Tomato-Basil Wine Sauce, Mussels Steamed in White Wine, and Steamed Mussels with Lemon, Onion, and Wine.