Smoked & Steamed Fresh Mussels Finished with a Wine and Butter Sauce Recipe

Smoked & Steamed Fresh Mussels Finished with a Wine and Butter Sauce Recipe

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Smoked & Steamed Fresh Mussels Finished with a Wine and Butter Sauce Recipe
4.7 - 6 vote[s]

Smoked fresh mussels do not compare in any way to the ones you will find in a can in your grocery store. I don’t really mind canned mussels on occasion. However, fresh mussels are superior in texture and flavor, provided you don’t overcook them.

Mussels are a great source of those omega-3 fatty acids that our cardiovascular systems depend on for good health. One serving of mussels contains 20 grams of protein and no carbohydrates. Also impressive is the amount of vitamin B-12 and vitamin C that these mollusks supply us. They should not be overlooked as a healthy protein source for your diet.

Purchasing and Cleaning Mussels

You will find both wild and farmed or cultivated mussels in the market. Either will work for smoking. It is important to know the harvested date and the best by date. Ask your fish monger these dates, or check the label on pre-packaged mussels. It is very important that the mussels are cold, fresh, and very much alive when you buy them. Count on approximately 1 pound of mussels per person.

Mussels are bivalve mollusks that consume plankton and suck in sea or fresh water, depending on where they live. Along with that water comes some grit and sand. Mussels are great filterers of stuff in the water, including toxins. It is important that they be cleaned very well before consuming. There is nothing more annoying than some crunchy bit of sand when eating mussels.

As soon as you get the mussels home, place them in a bowl of cold water with some ice cubes in it. Allow the mussels to sit in the water for about 15 minutes. Drain the water. Then, check each mussel to make sure the shells are closed. If any are not closed, tap the shell to see if the mussel clamps shut. Any mussel that does not close is presumed dead and cannot be eaten. Throw those out.

Drain the mussels in a colander and rinse out the bowl. Refill the bowl with clean cold water. Place a tablespoon of cornmeal in the bowl. The mussels will filter the cornmeal and it will help to expel some of the grit. Let these sit for another 15 to 30 minutes. After that, place the mussels in a colander and rinse really well under cold running water.

Right before cooking the mussels, remove the beards. Removing the beard will start the dying process of the mussels. So, don’t do this too soon. The beard looks like a few stringy hairs. You can pull the beard off with your fingers. Don’t worry if you can’t remove all of them (mussels are strong). You can remove any you missed after the mussels are cooked.

Cook the mussels immediately after cleaning them.

Cooking Mussels

Mussels can be steamed, boiled, grilled, or cooked in a Masterbuilt Smoker. When smoking mussels, there are 2 common methods that produce different results.

The first method is to slow smoke the fresh mussels just until they open. After that, you can serve them with a wine and butter sauce. These have a light smoky flavor and a soft texture.

The other method is more akin to canned smoked mussels with similar results. You start by steaming the mussels just until they open. Then, you remove the mussels from their shells and smoke them. After smoking you can place the mussels in a seasoned oil to preserve them. This method does impart a bit more smoke into the meat.

We will explore both methods for smoking mussels.

Smoked Whole Fresh Mussels Finished with a Wine and Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs whole fresh mussels in their shells
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2-1/2 TBS minced shallot
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tsps fresh lemon juice
  • 3 TBS fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • Crusty bread slices for sopping up the sauce
  • Alder, pecan, or maple wood chips
  • Water and lemon slices

Total time:1 hour 5 minPrep time:35 min – Smoke time:30 min – Serves:4 people
Author:

Directions:

1. Clean the mussels as described in the Purchasing and Cleaning Mussels section of this post.

2. Add wood chips to the smoker tray and fill the bowl half way with water and a few lemon slices. Preheat the smoker to 225°F with the door closed and the top vent open.

3. Place the mussels on a fine rack, such as the kind that fits inside a sheet pan. Alternatively, you can use a perforated vegetable grilling pan or a foil sheet pan that has been pierced multiple times with a skewer or fork. The idea is to allow the smoke to circulate around the muscles without them falling through the smoker rack.

4. Place the rack or pan in the smoker and cook for approximately 20 to 30 minutes until the mussels have opened. Continue to smoke, checking at 10 minute intervals. You don’t want to overcook the mussels, so check them often.

5. Prepare the sauce while the mussels are smoking. In a saucepot, add the butter and olive oil and melt over medium/high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until just softened, approximately 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and lemon juice and allow the sauce to come up to a boil. Simmer for approximately 4 to 5 minutes or just until the raw wine taste is cooked out. Stir in the parsley, salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat.

6. Discards any mussels that haven’t opened. Place the cooked mussels in serving bowls or one big bowl for the table and spoon the sauce over the mussels. Serve with pieces of bread, plenty of napkins, and a bowl for the shells. These go very nicely with a crisp and chilled Chablis, Fumé Blanc, or Sauvignon Blanc.

Steamed and Smoked Mussels

Steamed and smoked mussels

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs whole fresh mussels in their shells
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 slices of fresh lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup very good quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • Alder or other mild wood chips
  • Water and lemon slices

Total time: 2 hour 45 minPrep time: 45 min – Smoke time: 2 hour total – Serves: 4 people

Directions:

1. Clean the mussels as described in the Purchasing and Cleaning Mussels section of this post.

2. In a large pot, add the water, wine, lemon, and bay leaves. Place a steamer basket in the pot. (Don’t worry if you don’t have a basket). Bring the liquid to a boil and add some of the mussels in a single layer. Cover and steam until they just open, approximately 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the cooked mussels to a colander or bowl and repeat the process until all of the mussels have opened. Throw out any mussels that did not open.

3. Strain the broth through a coffee filter or double layer of cheesecloth into a large bowl and set aside to cool.

4. When the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from their shells with a small, sharp knife. Discard the shells as you go along. Be sure to get rid of any beards that were left behind. Add the mussel meat to the cooled broth and allow them to sit while you prepare the smoker.

5. Add wood chips to the smoker tray and fill the bowl half way with water and a few lemon slices. Preheat the smoker to 145°F with the door closed and the top vent open.

6. Drain the mussels from the broth. You can reserve the broth for use in a fish chowder. Place the mussels on a fine rack, such as the kind that fits inside a sheet pan. Alternatively, you can use a perforated vegetable grilling pan or a foil sheet pan that has been pierced multiple times with a skewer or fork. The idea is to allow the smoke to circulate around the muscles without them falling through the smoker rack.

7. Place the rack or pan in the smoker and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The mussels are already cooked, so you are just trying to infuse some smoke over low heat. Replenish the wood chips and water if needed.

8. Taste a mussel to make sure the texture and flavor are what you are looking for. When finished, place the mussels in a bowl and add the EVOO, salt, and pepper. Toss with a spoon to coat evenly.

9. Enjoy the muscles right away on crackers or in a salad. Or, seal the muscles in oil in a glass jar with a lid and refrigerate them for up to 5 days. These are a delicious and healthy snack.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *