Name one dish that is inexpensive, fancy enough for any party, and quick to prepare. If your answer is mussels, then you got it right. These tasty sea creatures are a favorite dish for many people in Ottawa and all over Canada, and it is for a good reason. They are always party-friendly and easy to cook.
Alternatively, you can head to the best rated mussel restaurant in Gatineau and enjoy a plate of mussels at a pocket-friendly price. However, if you are planning to prepare your mussels at home, here are some of the common mistakes that you need to avoid to make your dish delicious.
Don’t Forget to Wash Them Up
If you are buying your mussels from a fishmonger, it’s highly unlikely that they will still be filled with dirt and grit. However, this shouldn’t blindfold you into thinking that they are clean and ready for cooking. Make sure that you transfer your raw mussels into a colander and place them under cold water. Shake them gently so that all of them are thoroughly rinsed.
After rinsing, use a sharp knife to scrape off any dirt remaining on the shells and also check for beards. While most of the mussels come de-bearded, there is usually one or two that may sneak in without being noticed. Furthermore, any mussel that isn’t closed or doesn’t appear to close when you tap it needs to be thrown out since an open mussel is dead and one dead mussel can ruin a whole sack of them.
Add Aromatics to Your Mussels
If you want your mussels to taste great just like the mussels in Gatineau, Ottawa, remember to add aromatics. Before you start your cooking, sauté some chopped onion, ginger, and garlic. Feel free to throw in some lemongrass or chiles depending on your desired flavor. Cooking the aromatics before you add the mussels and liquid builds a strong base for your sauce which is going to be essential when eating your meal with bread.
Simmer, Don’t Boil
Once your aromatics are ready and you have added your mussels and liquid to the mixture, things can happen really quickly. To avoid interfering with the flavor of your mussels, bring the liquid up to a boil and immediately lower it to a lively simmer. You should also be sure to use a wide and shallow sauté pan or pot while cooking so that the mussels don’t get stuck on top of each other since it will take longer to cook.
Keep Your Lid On While Cooking
The mussels usually cook when the hot steam produced from the simmering liquid wafts gently through the pot. Therefore, the best thing to do to ensure that your mussels cook properly is to minimize any of that hot air from leaving the pot. Make sure that you keep the lid on and only open your pot once after every eight minutes for a quick stir. Once you have stirred your dish, get the lid right back on top of your pot.