I like mussels and I was so psyched to learn how much of a nutritional punch they packed. One 3 ounce serving of shelled mussels contains an entire daily supply of selenium and 3X the RDA for vitamin B12. But wait there’s more . That little serving offers 10 grams of protein at a mere 70 calories and mussels have less cholesterol than any other shellfish. And I’ve saved the best for last– 3 ounces of mussels have almost a gram of those anti-aging omega-3 fatty acids– 2-3x the amount of most fish including sole, haibut, cod, shrimp and clams. And then there is the price. Mussels are just about the most affordable of all fish, currently just $3.99/lb at the new Fairway that just opened in my hood.
Mussels can be steamed in a seasoned broth, added to soups or served over pasta. They are really simple to cook, but there are a few things you should know before you start:
1. Make sure that the shells are closed and intact when you buy them. Broken and/or open shells can mean that the mussel is dead- and dead mussels can make you sick.
2. Buy about 3/4 pound of mussels per serving
3. When you get them home, rinse them off in cool water, gently transfer to a deep bowl, cover with plastic wrap and poke about a dozen air holes in the plastic. This will allow them to breathe so they won’t die before you will cook them that night.
Here’s a super easy recipe that I adapted from “Barefoot in Paris” by Ina Garten. In addition to the mussels, its packed with antioxidants from olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes and wine.
2 pounds of mussels
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup canned plum tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup parsley
1 cup white wine
1. Heat olive oil in a large pot and saute onions for 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes
2. Add the tomatoes, parsley, wine and a few turns of freshly grated black pepper.
3. Add mussels, stir, cover pot and cook for 8 minutes– until all the mussels have opened. ( toss any that remain shut). Pour the mussels and that incredible broth into bowls and serve with a big chunk of whole wheat italian bread. Serves two hungry people. How easy it that?
Note: There is no added salt to the recipe. Mussels in their natural state have about 250 mg of sodium per serving — more than enough to flavor it and just about the limit for a healthy serving.