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    Moules a l'escargot question

    I am dying to make some mussels with garlic and parsley butter but I have seen several different recipes. A couple say give the mussels a quick steam/boil like you regularly would for moules marinare and then apply butter, garlic parsley, etc mixture and broil or bake. Another says shuck them raw and do all of the cooking in the oven/broiler? Any opinions?

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    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
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    I wouldn't shuck them raw - just clean them well, steam them, and then follow the recipe that says add butter, garlic, parsley, etc. Sounds like a good way to do it to me. I assume this method is removing cooked meat from shells and then using a 1/2 shell as a vessel for broiling and serving?

    Sounds a bit fussy to me for mussels...

    Personally, I do them like this - saute minced yellow onion/shallot & garilc (add any other aromatics at will) in pot in olive oil & butter. NO SALT! Dump in mussels. Dump in white wine. Cover. Simmer 10-12 minutes, until done - opened. Remove mussels with skimmer to serving vessel(s), leaving sauce in pot. Reduce sauce a bit. Turn off heat. Whisk in fresh butter. Add parsley, fresh herbs, etc. Pour over mussles. Serve w/ crusty bread.
    Shibui - simplicity devoid of unnecessary elements

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    Actually it calls for removing half of the shell but not the meat, then using fo broiling and serving. I had them done like this in Brussels.

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    Senior Member DeepCSweede's Avatar
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    The nice thing with leaving them in shell is that if you have any bad ones, they would not open and you can throw them out. Not sure how you would tell if you shucked them first. Having gotten food poisoning from mussels, I recommend leaving them on and then breaking off half the shell after cooking and before you serve them. I do mine very close to mpukas recipe.

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    I would prefer to boil or steam them first just because it makes them easier to deal with and you know for sure which ones were dead/rotten. I just worry about overcooking them in the oven because they way that I had them in Brussels involved the garlic butter mixture and some bread crumbs on top that were browned. i suspect that the 2 pounds of butter might keep the little buggers from drying out. I had only eaten a mussel off of a Chinese buffet once before I tried these in Blegium, but now I am REALLY jonesing for them made this way. Over their, 18 small ones done up with the butter is what passes for an appetizer!!! I had those, a mid blowing pheasant dish and an apple tart and made a pig of myself that night. I had some done in the regular steamy fashion since I got back to the US and want to try that too.

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    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    Mpukas is right on. You can tell which ones are dead while cleaning them. If one is opened up, tap him on the table a few times, if he closes, he's alive. Don't cook the dead ones with the live ones. Only thing I suggest is a slightly less cooking time. In the pan, covered, they only take about 5 minutes to open up in my experience.
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    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThEoRy View Post
    Mpukas is right on. You can tell which ones are dead while cleaning them. If one is opened up, tap him on the table a few times, if he closes, he's alive. Don't cook the dead ones with the live ones. Only thing I suggest is a slightly less cooking time. In the pan, covered, they only take about 5 minutes to open up in my experience.
    +100!

    Check you mussels for dead ones while cleaning/before cooking! If you have one that won't close up, toss it. Don't cook dead ones with live ones!
    Shibui - simplicity devoid of unnecessary elements

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    Senior Member mpukas's Avatar
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    Just went to a restaurant last night with some new friends that is somewhat famous around here for their mussels (which I don't get, but that's just me...). A good friend of mine actually helped open the joint many years ago, before I knew him, and they do mussels in what I consider a unique way. My friend has also done them this way for me, but I'm not convinced it's better than the classic steamed method I mentioned above.

    Anyway, take an oven proof roasting vessel - they used cast iron fajita skillets, my friend uses a big copper clad French oval roasting pan - put it in a cranking hot oven until it's as hot as the oven - like 450 or more (I think the restaurant uses their wood fired pizza oven). Dump the cleaned mussels (tossed with a bit on sliced onion, and some other sparse seasonings, but not sure what) on the hot skillet/roasting pan, put back in oven until done. Served on hot skillet w/ drawn butter.
    Shibui - simplicity devoid of unnecessary elements

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    As this is my first try, I think I will go for the more simple moules frites recipe this evening. Got lots of really good Belgian beer to kill the taste in case I screw up!!!
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    No pics of the finished product. Stunk up my kitchen, tasted good. Happy New Year.!!

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