The Epicurean II

Originally posted in the Daily Pulse 08.23.04

If you want crab cakes, the best state to get them is in Maryland, but for all other seafood, you need to head up to Maine. Sure it’s the state where 99% of all Stephen King stories take place, but my god it’s beautiful to visit and in the summer, it’s one of the best places in the world to get seafood that is as cheap as it is amazing to feast upon.

When in Maine I combine two truisms. The first is that you can never have enough Garlic. The second is that when you get sick of fresh main lobster, you go for mussles. Today I’d like to combine the two of these with an amazingly simply seafood recipe that will keep you feasting for days. And trust me, the more you eat, the more you will crave.

Garlic Mussels


8 Large cloves of garlic
2 sticks (Half a pound) of butter
2 teaspoons Salt
6 Pounds of live (fresh) Mussels, rinsed

1. Peel the garlic, or just use a garlic press. The latter is cheap and makes things a lot quicker, but you do lose some of the juices. If you go the peel route, finely mince the garlic. In a saucepan, heat the butter over very low heat. After it has melted, add the garlic and continue to let it simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and wrap it in Saran Wrap (Cling) and let it sit for 60-90 minutes. The great thing about this homemade garlic butter is it will keep for three days. And considering we are talking 6 pounds of mussels, you’ll need it.

2. In a large stockpot, add 1 inch of water to the pot and bring it to a boil. By an inch, I mean so that an inch deep of the pot has water in it. Add the salt and then the mussels. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil again. Reduce the heat to medium and steam the mussels until they open. This can be anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on factors like the size of the mussels and the size of your pot. Even altitude can play a factor. Just let them steam, and once their shells are open, you’re all good. Take a spoon and sift out the mussels and place them onto plates. If you come across some that aren’t open, just chuck them.

3. Reheat the garlic butter on low heat. Pour the garlic butter on the mussels and eat, eat eat!

4. If you want a wine to accent the flavor, the age old standby of white wine with seafood doesn’t fail here. I suggest either an unoaked Chablis, a white Bordeaux, or a Viognier. For the love of god, NOT a beer please…