I have decided recently that I am in love with muscles mussels.  (It has NOTHING to do with my last post, I swear.)  There is something about muscles mussels that makes me want to have them around me all the time.

I would even dare to say that I dream about devouring muscles mussels.  And if you ever wondered what chefs mean when they talk about sexy food, think about their muscles mussels.

But for some reason, people get scared of muscles mussels.   They’ll enjoy them when they aren’t at home but there has to be a way to enjoy muscles mussels everywhere.  Don’t you agree?

So here are some fun facts to build up your cooking muscles on mussels:

-They are marketed in their shells, which should be closed up tight.

-They can be opened a little smidge but if you give them a tap, they should close.

-The less they are disturbed, the longer they live.  (I wonder if I could market little do not disturb signs to put on their shells?)

-Store in the coolest part of your refrigerator.

-Don’t store them in water.  (I find this fact odd since they lived once upon a time in water.  I guess you can’t go home again.)

-Keep them moist with a cool wet towel or store similarly to how the market stored them.

-They need air, so keep the container open.

-Good mussels smell like the sea, not fishy.

-Rinse and remove beards before cooking.

-They should be used shortly (within a day or so) of purchase.  (One source said five days but that scares me.)

-Appetizer size is about ½ a pound.  Entrée size is about 1 pound.  (I usually buy 1.5 pounds for us but I also serve it over pasta.)

-After the mussels are cooked, they HAVE to open.  If they do not open, do not eat them.

-They taste great with very little effort.

-Remember to KISS them!  (Keep it Super Simple)

KISSed Tomato Mussels


1.5 pounds PEI mussels (cleaned, rinsed, and undisturbed)

Olive oil

3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

1 can whole plum tomatoes (I LOVE San Marzano), crushed with your bare hands

½ cup chicken broth

½ TBSP Fresh oregano, chopped

½ TBSP Fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper (or a dash of red pepper if you want it zazzy)


Spaghetti or pasta of your choice

Crusty bread (really not optional because you need to sop up the sauce with something other than your fingers)


In a large, high sided pan (I use a Le Creuset 3.5 quart braiser because it has a tight fitting lid), heat up about 1 TBsp olive oil over medium heat.

Sauté shallot for a minute or so before adding garlic.  (You want the shallots semi-translucent.)

Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, another minute.  (Don’t brown your garlic!!!)

Add the chicken broth and tomatoes.   Simmer on low for about 30 minutes.  (This is letting your flavors marry.)

Taste for seasoning.  Add herbs.

Increase heat until you get some nice slow boil and add your mussels.  Give them a quick twirl and put the lid on.

Mine usually take 5 minutes to finish cooking.  (If none have popped over you may need to increase the heat and let them steam longer.  If you have one or two that don’t open, discard them.  I read that the general guideline is to cook for 5 minutes and that usually works for me.)

Those babies should be popping open and saying EAT ME.  (They really don’t talk so don’t look for that quality in your mussel or you will be disappointed.)

Serve over some pasta with some good crusty bread.

I have only started eating mussels this year and I love them.  I’ve prepared them “Italian style” but plan on trying to make them with Asian or French flavors.

I like muscles mussels so much that I don’t care what nationality they are….I just like to have them around me.  ; )