After imbibing our way through Newport, whether it was a cold beer at the beach or a brunch at an inn from a bygone era, we were all set to depart. We said our goodbyes, congratulated the future bride and groom and set out for the airport. A series of foggy, soggy days caused massive airport delays so what we thought would be a flight back to our hometowns was a trip to the airport Starbucks and back.
Instead of scrambling for last minute tickets we opted for an impromptu night in Newport. Luckily, after battling with dreadful customer service from an agent named Vester at the Providence US Airways counter, we were all welcomed back with open arms to our host and hostess for one last night of engagement weekend fun.
We passed on another night of yachtside dining for a dinner that was honestly much more delicious. The meal was based off fresh, local ingredients we had literally foraged for earlier in the day and was the kind of meal that made you happy you were wearing pants with some stretch in them.
While I am no expert in the kitchen, I loved being part of the cooking process and took direction well from the Mr. Chef, who by the way is an amazing Italian who should have his own cooking show. My sole task that day was to work with the mussels so I present to you, dear reader, my “mussel musts.” They can also translate to “man musts” if you are in desperate need of dating advice as well.
Get rid of the bad boys.
The first thing you’ll want to do is sort through the mussels and discard any that are open or broken. The mussels should be tightly closed. If not, it is likely they’re dead, and not fresh enough to eat. Mr. Chef tried to tell me something about tapping the mussel on the counter to see if it would close up, and thus still alive, but I just tossed anything open… you don’t want to mess around with seafood!
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
After getting rid of the icky ones, place the good guys in water. You’ll see the mussels “breathe” and filter the water. It’ll look like mini bubbles floating to the surface as the mussels expel sand.
A five o’clock shadow is nice but a clean shave is better.
Now its time to de-beard! The mussels we gathered have what’s called a “beard,” or if you’re a fancy science type you can call them byssal threads. To de-beard the mussel, hold the mussel in one hand and pull the beard with your other hand. Just a quick tug will do.
Get rid of clingy exes.
Next – you’re almost done, stick with me here! – you’ll remove the other “extras” on the mussels. You can use a firm brush or file to scrape off any barnacles or other attachments. Rinse the mussels under water and dry them off with a towel.
Now I’ve been bossing you around too much so I wont tell you what to do with your delectable morsels once you’ve prepared them. We steamed them open and added them to a pasta dish – extra garlic please! – but look up your favorite recipe and be “shellfish.” And if you weren’t preparing mussels but following along to find a good man, best of luck!