It’s easy to create a quick, delicious meal by steaming mussels with flavorful ingredients. Once you know how to store them and how to tell if they’re alive, cooking them is a snap.

Hounds like to simply sweat garlic and onion or shallot in olive oil or butter, add white wine and mussels, bring to a boil, cover, and steam until the mussels open. AdamD likes them steamed in lager, with garlic, parsley, and a pat of butter; Glencora adds minced ginger. Check out CHOW’s tutorial on the procedure.

“One tip that I think elevates all steamed mussel and clam dishes is to remove the shellfish from the pot (I use an Asian spider) and boil down the sauce for a few minutes,” says JoanN. “This helps to concentrate the flavors of the juices that have been released from the shellfish with whatever flavors are in the sauce. Once the sauce has been reduced, put the shellfish back in the pot just long enough to warm it up. Concentrating the essence of the mussels and/or clams can take this dish to a higher level.”

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