Tuesday afternoon I headed to the Sonoma coast for sunshine and blue skies. It was a minus tide, perfect for collecting mussels, and I wanted to get one more limit on the last day before my fishing license expired. This was my first time to Goat Rock state beach, just south of the mouth of the Russian River. The bivalves are not as plentiful as my usual spot further north at Salt Point, but several mussel rocks are in easy reach of the parking lot and the adventurous can climb further out to the wave front. It took me 45 minutes to collect 10 pounds.
These were served as an appetizer at the New Years eve party I attended at friends vineyard home in Dry Creek Valley. We roasted them outside on the grill until they popped open. We piled them on a tray on the buffet table with a bowl of hot garlic butter for dipping and washed them down with plenty of Champagne.
To make the garlic butter, melt 2 sticks of unsalted butter in a small sauce pan with two heads (yes, heads, not cloves) of chopped garlic. Heat at low temperature (barely bubbling) until the garlic is softened and starts to turn golden. Remove from heat and stir in a couple tablespoons of chopped parsley for color.