We’re sticking with Maine for just a few more weeks. Can you tell we did a lot of cooking at the cabin? It was fabulous! This particular recipe is probably the one we’ll remember the most and not because it was our favorite meal, although it was quite delicious, but because it was a truly memorable experience.
It didn’t take us long, especially with our little explorers, to realize that there were tons of mussels on our little stretch of beach. The bay was situated in an intertidal zone and the mussels were especially easy to find at low tide.
Mike and I instantly started thinking about how we could cook some of these babies up, but we weren’t sure if they were safe or if we were allowed; and after having food poisoning from mussels on our honeymoon I wasn’t about to mess around with safety. So Mike asked the fisherman that sold us our clams if we could harvest some mussels. He explained the quantity and size regulations and gave us the number of the Maine Department of Marine Resources which would give us real-time pollution levels for our area. We were really getting excited now, so after a quick call and an all clear, we were ready for the mud. That’s when the fun began.
Miss A and I let the boys do the dirty work, and dirty it was! Mike and Mr. N really got their feet and hands grimy out in the soppy, muddy sand digging for mussels. Mike even broke his flip-flop when it was suctioned off his foot into the mud.
Miss A and I stuck closer to shore where we found a few lonely mussels and prepared to give them all a quick wash down. This mud was not coming in the cabin because while I’m happy to cook on vacation, I’m not cleaning!
After collecting and cleaning about 50 mussels we took them back up to the cabin. Everyone was hosed off outside and we brought the mussels in for a good scrubbing to remove the rest of the mud and barnacles. Much to our surprise the barnacles came off rather easily. We also de-bearded the mussels which wasn’t nearly as creepy as purging the clams.
Once the mussels were cleaned we were ready to cook (and eat!). We’ve made mussels at home before, granted they weren’t live, and we’ve always enjoyed them in wine-based sauces. So when we saw the recipe in our favorite cabin cookbook, Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie, we couldn’t resist. We began the Mussels in White Wine Cream Sauce by first adding the white wine and shallots to a stock pot.
We sautéed the wine for a few minutes and then added some chicken stock which we brought to a boil. We tossed in the mussels, covered them and cooked them for 4 minutes over medium-high heat. After checking to make sure the mussels had opened, we removed them with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
We enjoyed our mussels alongside our steamers and cheddar biscuits for a wonderful late afternoon lunch.
This whole experience, from beginning to end, was a family adventure that we’ll always remember. We were all kids on the beach that day – digging in the mud and the sand, getting dirty and filling up our buckets with shells. The day was only made sweeter by the fact that the mussels earned 4 spoons all around. They were perfectly cooked and the sauce was an incredible complement to the mussels. Both Mr. N and Miss A have, much to our surprise, always been fans of mussels and these were no different. There wasn’t a single shell left unturned.
And as an added bonus – no one got sick! Many thanks to the Maine DMR. :)
Print this recipe: Mussels in a White Wine Cream Sauce