The beard, or byssus, on a mussel is like a string the mussel uses to attach itself to something solid. It must be removed right before the mussel is cooked, but not in advance or the mussel might spoil. Hazelnuts are key to the flavor of this dish, so be sure to scoop some into every serving.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
Heat a wok or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; stir-fry 2 minutes or until just golden. Carefully add lemon juice and mussels to pan; cook 4 minutes or until shells open, stirring constantly. Remove mussels from pan using a slotted spoon; keep warm. Discard any unopened shells. Cook pan juices 3 minutes or until reduced to 1 tablespoon; stir in nuts. Return mussels to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring to combine. Remove from heat; sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper, tossing gently to combine. Divide mussel mixture evenly among 4 bowls; serve immediately.
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