Mussel Mania

After our delicious foray into all things seasonal and pumpkin-y, we’re back to wrap up our cooking adventure in the Philippines. As our starting point we again turned to Raymund’s site, Ang Sarap, for reference and that’s where we came upon his recipe for Baked Tahong, or baked mussels.  Given how much all four of us love mussels, our recipe selection was a no-brainer.

Before we dove in, we did a bit of further exploring on other Filipino recipe sites and then put together our own take on the dish. However, we knew to make the mussels as authentically as possible, one thing was certain, we needed to find green mussels. Fortunately we found a box of frozen New Zealand green mussels on the half shell after only one other grocery stop – given that sometimes we go to five different stores to find the more exotic ingredients, this was a big win.

First we laid out all the mussels on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Notice the green color of the shells – much different from the little black mussels we dug up in Maine.

Next we gathered all of our toppings including melted butter, bread crumbs, Colby Jack cheese and minced garlic.

Miss A took care of basting the mussels with the butter using her “paint brush.”

Then Mr. N dabbed a bit of minced garlic over the shells,

and topped them off with a sprinkle of bread crumbs.

Finally, Miss A, who we lovingly refer to as our resident cheesehead, took care of adding the cheese over the tops of the mussels. (She both loves cheese and was born in Wisconsin; her football allegiance, however, remains undetermined.)

These green little beauties were then ready for the oven.

We baked the mussels, which were still frozen, for 18 minutes at 375F. (If we had thawed the mussels, less time would have been required.) And that was it, our baked tahong was ready to serve.

We were all excited to dig in, especially the kids who were already waiting at the table. I even think Miss A was the first one to actually eat a mussel, followed quickly by Mr. N who devoured his in about 3 minutes. Miss A took a little more time, as she was eating the meat of the mussel selectively. She seemed to prefer the bright orange colored ones.

We all liked the flavors brought to the table by the toppings. I mean how can you not like butter, cheese and garlic? The mussels, however, weren’t quite what we expected. They had a bit more of a fishy taste than the mussels we ate in Maine. It wasn’t a bad quality, just different and surprising. Still we enjoyed them and every shell wound up empty.

As for our spoon rating, we were all in agreement this time at 2 spoons. The mussels were good, we enjoyed them and ate them all, but should we make mussels again, we’ll opt for our Mussels in a White Wine Cream Sauce. Or perhaps toss some mussels into a spicy seafood linguine. Mmmmmmm.

I’ll stop now, because I’m just making myself hungry again. Stay tuned for our next post when we wrap up our culinary tour of the Philippines. Hint – it’s that little roll looking thing next to the mussels.

Print this recipe: Baked Tahong

59 thoughts on “Mussel Mania

  1. jdlarkin says:

    It makes me smile that you cook with your kids! I wish more people would involve their children in the kitchen, maybe they would get less complaining and more healthy eating.

    This recipe looks amazing and I have added it to our “must try” recipe list! I am a huge fan of mussels and cant wait to try them this way! Keep up the good work!

    Like

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks! We absolutely love cooking with the kids. They enjoy it too. It’s been a great experience for all of us, but especially the kids. They’ve learned so much about other cultures and cuisines, it’s incredible. 🙂 You’ll have to let us know if you make the mussels. They are one of our favorites!

      Like

    • Kristy says:

      LOL. I love it! Another little “cheesehead!” Cheese works wonders when it comes to getting our kids to eat certain things. However, with or without cheese they’re happy to eat mussels. Thanks for visiting and commenting. 🙂

      Like

  2. Kate @ Kate from Scratch says:

    Such wonderful and adorable little helpers! I’m impressed with their tastes, too. I never would have gone near mussels at that age. Delightful! I’m with Miss A on the “cheese makes everything better” philosophy of food. lol. I love it!

    Like

    • Kristy says:

      LOL. She is definitely a fan of cheese! All kinds. Some days all she wants is little mozzarella pearls for lunch. 🙂 And yes, they have some pretty brave little taste buds. Like you, I wouldn’t have gone near a mussel as a kid.

      Like

  3. Mama Lisa says:

    What beautiful pictures. Good too see little ones enjoying mussels! Our girls love them, but that’s pretty unusual in our area. If I can get my hands on some good ones, I will try this recipe out – they love to get their hands in their food. Thank you.

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    • Kristy says:

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙂 This is definitely a fun recipe to make. It might be good to experiment with some different cheeses too. Lots of the Filipino recipes used cheddar. My preference would be for Parmesan though. Isn’t it amazing to see kids eat mussels?! Still shocks me. 🙂

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    • Kristy says:

      Thanks so much Raymund! That truly means a lot. I personally don’t think they look as good as yours – probably didn’t taste as good either. You have been a wonderful source of inspiration on this adventure though. Thanks for everything! 🙂

      Like

    • Kristy says:

      LOL – would you believe that’s actually Miss A’s xmas dress from last year. She had on two t-shirts, the dress and a pair of leggings. She certainly has her own sense of style. 😉

      Like

  4. Karen says:

    I’m going to go with your 2 spoon finding. I thing that the cheese just seems out of place. I’m going to give 4 spoons to Miss A and Mr. N for their discriminating taste.

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  5. Charles says:

    I’m still really surprised that Cheesehead Miss. A (sorry, it just feels so rude to call your kid that!) and Mr. N ate mussels. I love them myself, but I can’t look too closely at them… they’re just so… icky inside 😀

    Beautiful dish – it reminds me of a starter served in a nearby restaurant, but a lot nicer, because actually that restaurant is kinda gross, whereas this looks delicious!

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    • Kristy says:

      LOL! No worries. She knows we only call her that with loving adoration. 😉 I think she even takes a sense of pride in it… I’m surprised they eat these too. I’ll never forget the first time Mr. N tried them. He was three and I was shocked. He nearly ate all of them from our appetizer. Mike and I were lucky to get any. LOL. Miss A is the same way now. This is definitely one of those foods I just eat without looking at it too much. 😉 I’m glad we beat out the gross restaurant! LOL. 🙂 Although sometimes, those dives have some really awesome food. I can think of a few off the top of my head.

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  6. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    Awww look at Mr. N and Miss A.. they are going to be quite the cooks when they get older. And I’m guessing a tradition with their kids will start with their own kids ;). I’ve never tried mussels before.. I know I must be crazy.. but I haven’t. These look amazing.. really amazing.

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    • Kristy says:

      LOL. It’s really been fun how much they’re getting into it lately. Mr. N even wants to try and create something on his own now. And today Miss A and I were making cookies and I turned around and she had already started putting together the ingredients! 🙂 Have you tried clams or oysters before? They’re all similar in texture, but mussels are by far my favorite in flavor. 🙂

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  7. Caroline says:

    Oh man, for me not even liking mussels, these look amazing, Kristy! My main issue is the texture, but if cheese is involved, I think I just might be able to handle it. I’m loving all of your recipes from the Philippines. Great idea to check out Raymund’s site!

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    • Kristy says:

      Yeah, Miss A has some issues with the texture of mussels too. I’m not exactly sure how she eats them. She pulls certain parts off and eats others. It’s kind of a mystery to me. LOL. And I agree – the Philippines have been a winner!

      Like

  8. Eva Taylor says:

    Those are huge mussels Kristy! But Colby cheese in a Filipino recipe? I would prefer a less fishy tasting mussel myself. Kinda sounds oyster rockefferish!

    Like

    • Kristy says:

      Aren’t they big?! I was surprised by that too. Actually most of the recipes I looked at on various Filipino recipe sites used either Cheddar or Colby. We have a slight preference for Colby so we went with it. 🙂

      Like

  9. Courtney says:

    I LOVE mussels in a white wine, cream, butter sauce, too – and have never heard of them being baked. They do look pretty tasty! I wish my kids would be more into mussels. You are a lucky lady.

    Like

    • Kristy says:

      Me too Courtney! The white wine, cream and butter sauce is a winner. I had never heard of them baked either; although I have heard of baked clams. And of all the things the kids have tried, mussels surprise me the most. I don’t think you could have paid me to eat one as a kid! 🙂

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  10. ChgoJohn says:

    I’ve a package of green mussels on half shells in my freezer and when I saw this recipe, I thought I may have found a new and interesting way to prepare them, Well, with a 2 spoons review from Miss A & Mr N, I think I’ll stick with what I know, for now. You know, in a few years, your sous chefs could become the first brother/sister team to work as food critics. They sure will have the palates for it.

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    • Kristy says:

      You know I’m thinking if you did use this recipe, but used Parm in place of the Colby, you might have a winner there. Raymund also cooked his breadcrumbs with the butter first, which I might try next time too. And now wouldn’t that be cute – a brother/sister food critic team! 🙂

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  11. spicegirlfla says:

    Ooh, I was surprised with the 2 spoons! As I was reading it I thought what a great idea this was, taking a twist from using clams. The cheese, garlic…sounds delicious! And oh how I love Miss A brushing so carefully with her little tongue sticking out!!

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  12. Kelly says:

    This is so different Kristy – I’ve never had mussels prepared this way. Did you find you could still enjoy the traditional texture of the mussels with the toppings or did it have the effect of soaking up some of the softness and moisture? Very intriguing… the green shells are so pretty and I bet Miss A enjoyed the painting. I sure hope you post mussels in a spicy seafood linguini sometime soon, you’ve got me all excited about that one!!

    Like

    • Kristy says:

      You know, the texture was totally there. They definitely tasted and felt like mussels. 🙂 I liked the green shells too – and how the bright orange meat contrasted with the green. Very pretty. You know one of these days we’ll have to hit Italy and maybe we’ll do the seafood linguine then. 🙂 (I just haven’t picked Italy yet because I can just go too wild with that! LOL!)

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      • A_Boleyn says:

        Italy, France, Hungary … so many places still to go. I have a great appetizer/dim sum book that has a recipe for lumpia in it and would love to try it one day. They just seems so fiddly and finding lumpia wrappers would probably be a problem, though I guess wonton wrappers might work. Looking forward to your recipe.

        Like

        • Kristy says:

          You’re not kidding! We have quite a few places left to go. 🙂 We found the lumpia at the grocery store. They had some that weren’t frozen and others that were frozen. They are darn hard to work with though!

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          • A_Boleyn says:

            I just checked the appetizer cookbook I have and they use spring roll wrappers. I’m more curious about what you use for a filling though. 🙂

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  13. A_Boleyn says:

    Mussels, garlic, cheese butter … great combo.

    That looks like (a) lumpia next to the mussel. Look forward to more information. 🙂

    Like

  14. Mel says:

    Kumusta ka? I am curious about Maine mussels now (seeing that all we have here, of course, is NZ mussels 😉 These look great but your white wine cream sauce sounds positively awesome!!

    Like

    • Kristy says:

      Mabuti! 🙂 I’m not really sure there’s much of a flavor difference. The mussels we had in Maine were smaller, and the shells are completely black. Other than that, the texture and taste is pretty much the same. These mussels had a slightly more fishy taste, but I don’t know if that’s because they were frozen mussels or if it was the difference in where they came from… 🙂

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  15. Deborah says:

    I have only had mussels once, and they weren’t well prepared mussels, so I didn’t really care for them. I’d love to try them when they are good, because I’m sure I’d like them! I love that you kept it so authentic. Now I need to find some mussels to try your other linked recipe!

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    • Kristy says:

      Oh Deborah, I too had poorly prepared mussels once. Led to a nasty case of food poisoning. I’m actually surprised I still eat them. You’ll have to let me know if you try them again. We were huge fans of that recipe. 🙂

      Like

    • Kristy says:

      Who are you and what have you done with the real Greg. It was the zombies wasn’t it. 😉 Actually I think next time I’ll use Parm in place of Colby Jack. 🙂

      Like

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