Fresh mussels can be found everywhere in Costa del Sol area on fish counters. They are cheap, too: A 1 kg bag (2 pounds) of mussels usually costs about 3 € (USD $4). In many restaurants they are just steamed and served with a slice of lemon, but this time we have a bit more sophisticated version of this delicacy. You can’t go wrong if you have a lot of butter, garlic and white wine, can you?
Ingredients for Mussels with Garlic Butter for 4 Servings
- 1 kg (2 pounds) mussels – mejillones
- A splash of olive oil – aceite oliva
- 1 shallot – chalote
- 1 glass of white wine – vino blanco
- 2 sprigs of thyme – ramas de tomillo
- 2 handfuls of sea salt – sal marina
- 3 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
- a bunch of basil – albahaca
- 1/2 lemon – limón
- 100 g (4 oz) of soft butter – mantequilla
- ground black pepper – pimienta negra
Wash and debeard the mussels. Also check that they are alive by knocking them on the table. If a mussel stays open, throw it away – it’s dead.
Next, let’s make the butter. Use soft butter which has been in room temperature for awhile. Chop the garlic and basil and add into the butter. Squeeze half the lemon into the mix and and season with ground black pepper. If there’s not enough salt in the butter for your taste, add some more.
Pour a splash of olive oil along with finely chopped shallot and thyme in a sauce pan. Put in on high heat. When the onions are soft, add a glass of white wine and bring to boil. Add the mussels and cover with lid. This way the white wine steam will cook the mussels! Shake the pan after couple of minutes. Remove the pan from the heat when most of the mussels are open. Don’t wait until the last one of them is open, because there might be some dead ones and you’d destroy the soft structure of those which are fine.
Remove top cover of the mussels which are open. Throw away the ones which are closed. Put a teaspoon of butter on top of each mussel and place them on a baking tray which is covered with sea salt (see the picture below). Put the baking tray in 200 ºC (400 ºF) oven for about 5 minutes so that the butter melts. Serve immediately with the same wine you used for cooking the mussels.