If you love Pacific blue mussels as much as we do, it’s likely that you can whip up a batch of French-inspired steamed mussels with white wine and shallots without needing a recipe.
So, to mix it up, we tried a spicier, zestier take on the bistro classic, inspired by southwestern flavors and steamed in a lovely, locally brewed lager.
I am lucky enough to live in the land of microbreweries. In fact, the Boulder suburb we live in has 10 breweries alone! I chose a locally brewed IPA-style lager from Wibby Brewing for this dish, but feel free to choose a local favorite of your own, or even a classic Mexican beer such as Dos Equis lager.
To make this dish dynamic and unique, it combines the flavors of lime juice, fresh tomato, jalapeño and fresh cilantro. A slice of jalapeno, a cilantro leaf and a bit of tomato, all atop a steamed Pacific blue mussels, was fresh tasting with a luscious richness.
A few notes for the cook
Vital Choice has made it incredibly simple to make restaurant-worthy mussels at home. Here’s the beauty of this superior product: after the Pacific blue mussels are cleaned and vacuum-packed, they’re immersed in 175°F water for 13 minutes. This process pasteurizes and partially cooks the mussels, making it very easy to pull the meat from the shell.
This pasteurization process also renders the mussels sand-free, so they can go directly from the freezer to the pan with no thawing, cooking in just minutes.
I prefer to debeard my mussels, so here’s what I do – I remove the mussels from their freezer bag, place them in a colander, and run them quickly under cold water to remove the chunks of ice, which then allows me to remove the beards that may be sticking out from between the closed shell halves (just rip and tear).
And please remember – it’s safe to eat even the unopened mussels, because they’ve been pre-cooked and pasteurized.
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (remove the seeds for a milder dish)
2 pounds Vital Choice Frozen Pacific Blue Mussels
Juice of 1 lime
12-ounces of beer (I used an IPA-style lager)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
Fresh cilantro for garnish
In a large shallow pan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Reserve a tablespoon of jalapeño for garnish. Add the sliced shallots and the remaining jalapeno slices to the pan and sauté until tender, 3 minutes.
Layer in the mussels, then top with lime juice, beer and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce heat to simmer and cook until the mussels are plump and open, 5-7 minutes.
Divide the mussels between two bowls. Return the liquid to a boil and reduce for 5 minutes to create a richer broth.
Top each bowl of mussels with half of the reduced broth and garnish with reserved jalapeno slices and fresh cilantro leaves.
Adapted from content initially published by Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics.