Steamed Mussels from Prince Edward Island

We enjoyed steamed mussels often while traveling through Prince Edward Island, a top Canadian producer of this tasty bivalve. From what we’ve seen (other than the relaxing sightseeing on our trip), PEI mussels are high quality, clean and fresh due to the beautiful waters surrounding Prince Edward Island.

We probably ate far too many PEI steamed mussels while we were traveling in Canada in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland last month. If you want the complete details, you can read more about PEI mussels at PEI Aquaculture Alliance website.

If you love seafood, this steamed mussels recipe is a must try! Easy to prepare and cook at home, they’re delicious, high in protein and low fat. Fresh PEI mussels are some of the best I have had, but wherever your mussels are from, you can’t go wrong as long as they’re fresh.

Tips for Buying Mussels

Here are some tips for selecting and buying mussels:

  1. Buy from a reputable fish market where they can tell you where their mussels came from.
  2. Look for a tag that notes the harvest date.
  3. Give the mussels a smell test. Like fresh fish, they should smell like the ocean, but not fishy.
  4. You can store your mussels in the refrigerator for a few days, but try to eat them the same day you buy them for the best results.

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Steamed Mussels: Recipe Instructions

Rinse the mussels, and submerge them in a large bowl of cold water. After a few minutes, live mussels with their shells opened should close up. Discard any mussels whose shells remain open. Scrub any loose barnacles off each mussel shell. Transfer to another clean bowl of water.

Pull off any visible “beards” of seaweed that are attached to the mussels, using a kitchen cloth to grip the seaweed and firmly pull until they come off. After all the mussels are cleaned, toss them in a fresh bowl of water to clean any remaining loose particles. Pour them into a large colander to drain.

Repeat this procedure of soaking and draining if you see there’s sand at the bottom of the bowl. Soaking the mussels longer helps the mussels expel more sand. Once there’s no sand remaining, transfer the mussels to a colander to drain.

Prepare your sliced bread, mixing the extra virgin olive oil, salt, and a pinch of minced garlic together to spread / brush over the bread. You can prepare the garlic toast ahead of time on a sheet pan and place them under a broiler so they toast quickly.

Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a large thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat. Add 4 cloves chopped garlic, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, ½ cup chopped onions or shallots, and saute until transparent and fragrant (about 5 minutes).

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Turn the heat up to high, and add the cleaned mussels, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon sugar (this balances the acidity in the wine). Stir well. Add ⅓ cup dry white wine, and half of the parsley or carrot greens.

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Give everything a good stir with a large metal spoon, scooping from the bottom up. Cover the pot tightly. After 1 minute, give everything another stir.

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You should start to see some mussels opening.

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Cover tightly, and let your mussels cook until the liquid boils–about 2 minutes. Give everything another stir so the mussels cook evenly. Put the cover back on and let the mussels cook for another 2 minutes. Check to see all mussels have opened and at this point, you can discard any that have not opened their shells.

Stir in the rest of your chopped parsley or carrot greens and fresh pepper to taste.

Carefully pour your steamed mussels and broth into a large serving bowl (we serve them right out of the pot to keep them hot!), and serve immediately along with the toasted garlic bread––perfect for dipping into the flavorful broth. Enjoy these PEI steamed mussels–they’ll go fast!

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Be sure to get some of that tasty broth in each bite and eat your PEI steamed mussels while they’re hot!

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Be sure to check out our travel adventures and some great photos we took during our visit to Prince Edward Island!


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