On a giant platform, a massive amount of mussels were displayed on a bed of ice. The ladies would grab a plastic sack and with the provided metal scoop, fill up their bag with the amount they deemed appropriate. Tie off the sack, walk over to the fish man, and hand over the goods for him to weigh and determine the price.
It seemed easy enough. And turns out it was! I completely guessed on the amount needed and when the fish man asked me a follow-up question, I responded with c'est tout (meaning "that's all," my go to response when I have no clue) and he seemed content with that.
Back at home I did a little research on prep and simply spent about fifteen minutes at the sink rinsing, scrubbing off any bits or barnacles, and removing "beards." Sounds weird and gross but kind of like wet, briny corn-silk. No biggie. Grab, yank towards the hinge point, discard. And if any are chipped or don't close when you tap them, this means they aren't alive anymore and you should toss them. (I kind of forgot they were "live" and it was a little bananas to see them slowly open and shut!) Finally, I placed in a bowl of water, covered, and kept in the fridge 'til dinner.
When evening came and it was cookin' time, I loosely followed a recipe online. You can leave out the cream if you want, but I used Creme Crue Sineux (from our landlord's family farm!), and I used half wine and have (hard) cider, because that's another big thing here.
Honestly, it's about the easiest thing ever and it cooks in just under 10 minutes if they are small like these.
And when you take off the lid and they have all opened through some culinary magic, it's so exciting!
It's also exciting to eat with your fingers, pile up all the empty shells in an extra bowl, and eat lots of crusty bread to soak up the juices and make your belly extra happy.
So, have you cooked these before? Could you convince your kids that they aren't too creepy looking? What about oysters (I have no idea on this one!)? Do shellfish scare you? Do you have other kinds of recipes that are super simple, tasty, and fun to serve a family?