What Do Mussels Taste Like?

What Do Mussels Taste Like?

If they’re cooked properly, the taste of mussels is slightly salty, reminiscent of seawater, but also a sweeter, but with rich softness. They should be soft, but not too chewy, and go very well with various delicious flavors.

Mussels are a hugely popular choice for seafood due to their flexibility, delicious flavor, and cost-effectiveness.

They are classified as bivalve mollusks. That signifies that they possess a hinged shell that is two-part like oysters, clams, and scallops. However, they possess their own distinct flavor and texture.

There are many restaurants throughout the world that offer mussel-based recipes on the menu, however, they’re also so easy to make at home, so the cook at home can be at ease in their abilities to make delicious mussel dishes that will amaze their guests and family.

Learn more about how to cook mussels, what they taste like and what flavor combinations to serve with them.

Overview of Taste of Mussels

In this piece, we’re discussing specifically saltwater mussels as most freshwater mussels aren’t delicious and aren’t available for purchase.

Because they’re filter feeders, freshwater mussels could be a concentrated source of pollutants and toxins, based on the waters they are in.

To that end, we’ll be focusing on their oceanic relatives. They are delicious tasting and are available in the majority of supermarkets.

Saltwater mussels reside within the waters of oceans, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have a sour and salty flavor that is like oysters as well as clams.

They can also be a bit sweet, which is a nice complement to the saltiness. They also have umami or savory undertone.

They don’t taste overly salty or fishy, and their delicate flavor is a perfect container for anything from Fennel to tomatoes and olive oil.

I’ll share a few delicious flavors that are complimentary however, generally, mussels are an excellent canvas for creative ideas at the table.

What’s The Difference Between Blue, Black, and Green Mussels?

In terms of the flavor of the mussel, the main distinction between the green and black mussels is their intensity. Both are expected to be salty, a bit sweet, and possess a subtle umami flavor.

But, the blue or black mussels will possess more flavor than the green ones.

If you’re seeking a more subtle flavor, these mussels in green are likely to be the ideal choice.

Blue or black mussels can deliver a more tangy flavor that will be able to stand up to strong flavors such as garlic, shallots, and perhaps coconut milk.

Read also: What’s The Difference Between Green Mussels & Black Mussels?

Are Mussels Slimy?

One of the most common mental blocks that people often be faced with when it comes to mussels is the notion that they’re gooey and slimy. This perception isn’t far from reality.

If properly prepared, mussels are extremely soft and have a slightly chewy taste.

They’re a little more rigid than scallops, however, they are softer than clams. If you love clams, there’s a chance you will enjoy mussels as well.

The only time that mussels will get slimy is if you’ve cooked and already been discarded.

To prevent this to occur, you’ll want to ensure that all mussels that you will cook are alive as cooking dead mussels can result in the creation of a slimy and unpleasant product.

The best method for doing this is to go through your mussels and make sure that all shells remain closed. If you discover any mussels that have open shells, you should discard the mussels since they’re not alive and won’t be enjoyable to consume.

Are Mussels Rubbery?

As with many other foods, if cooked improperly, the texture may cause a negative impression. If you cook too long for your mussels, they’ll turn out rubbery and hard instead of chewy and soft.

Mussels take a short time to cook, so you’ll need to keep a check on them as they cook.

We’ll discuss this more in-depth in the next paragraph, but generally, when you’re steaming mussels, they’ll just take five to 7 minutes for cooking.

You should end cooking mussels when their shells break open so that they don’t risk becoming hard and rubbery.

What Is The Smell of Mussels Like?

There is a myth that seafood must smell strong and musty. Fresh, the majority of seafood has no smell, and if it has, it should smell as light and pleasant as the sea or ocean air.

Mussels do not fall outside of this rule. If they’re fresh, they will be fresh and salty.

When your mussels exhibit a strong fishy smell, it is best to throw them away from the mussels. The smell indicates that the mussel probably isn’t fresh and doesn’t be scrumptious after you’ve cooked it.

There’s nothing more unpleasant while eating than making through a mouthwatering bowl of mussels only to come on a slimy, sour one.

Before cooking your mussels, you’ll need to sort them through to eliminate any that have opened cracks, chips, or chipped shells, or with an odor of fish that is strong.

How To Purchase Fresh Mussels

Before you can bring your seafood home to cook, you must make sure that you buy the finest quality you can.

Because mussels live at the time you purchase them, you’ll want to ensure they are cool and moist however, they should not be submerged in water to allow them to breathe.

Many grocery stores keep their mussels frozen. If they are only available in bags, take the bag apart to verify whether the following requirements meet.

  • All your mussel shells need to be shut. If you find one that’s opened Try giving it a gentle tap on the counter. If the shell snaps shut, then it’s in good health and can be safely consume.
  • Avoid cracked or chipped shells. If you find the shell of a mussel cracked or chipped shell throw it away.
  • They must be fresh and salty, like an ocean. If they smell fishy and strong then don’t purchase them.
  • Pack a cooler bag with frozen packs to ensure they are fresh. If you are longer than two minutes from the supermarket, ensure you are prepared. You don’t want your gorgeous fresh mussels to be gone prior to your return.

Read also: Can you freeze mussels?

How to Keep Mussels Fresh

Since they live in the ocean, they love being wet and cold. It is ideal to be cooking your mussels on the very same day that you purchase them. However, when you have to store them, follow these guidelines to keep them clean and fresh.

  • If they were in a net or mesh bag, keep them in the original bag. If they’re inside a plastic bag, get rid of them to ensure they do not become suffocated.
  • Put the mussels in a colander over the bowl. This will allow the liquid that is released to drain into the bottom of the bowl to avoid drowning.
  • It is possible to cover the colander using a damp tissue or paper, then put it in the refrigeratorDo not put your mussels on plastic as they require to be breathing.
  • Utilize your mussels within one to two days. When you cook them, be sure to clean out any mussels that are dead or popped open during the storage.

How To Cook Mussels

Making a basic dish of mussels is extremely easy. There are some important actions you should make prior to cooking to ensure your dish is fresh, delicious, and delicious.

Read also: How do you reheat mussels safely?

Step 1: Sort Through Your Mussels

  • Before you begin cooking and cleaning your mussels, you’ll need to go through them and get rid of any that are missing off.
  • Discard all mussels which:
    • You can smell strong or fishy
    • Open shells
    • Have chips or cracks in your shells

Step 2: Properly Clean Your Mussels

  • Do not wash your mussels until you’re prepared to prepare they because this can end up killing them.
  • Simply rinse your mussels, one at a time under cool water. You’ll need to remove any debris or sand. The remaining mussels inside a bowl next to the sink, and then put the clean mussels into a strainer.
  • After your mussel has been rinsed, take a look at the beard. This is the hairy string that the mussels develop on at sea. You’ll need to get rid of the beard by grasping it and pulling it toward the clasp or the narrow part of the mussel.
  • The beard should fall off if you pull it hard. If it doesn’t, make use of a pair and cut your beard to as near the outer shell is possible.

Step 3: Cook The Mussels

Cooking mussels is the most straightforward step in the entire process, and it is also the point where you are able to stretch your creativity. In this article, I’ll provide a basic outline and below, you will find several great flavors to explore.

  • Make sure you have a big pot such as a stockpot with a lid that has been sealed. Because your mussels will consume about 1/3 of the space when they’re opened, you’ll need to stay in the direction of a larger pot. is more effective.
  • Based on the liquid you decide for cooking your mussels with the form of butter and white wine it is recommended to place around 1-inch of cooking liquid into the vessel. It’s not advisable to go over this because the goal of steaming the mussels is, not boil them. Boiling them can cause drying.
  • Bring the water to a simmer,then add the mussels and cover the cover of the saucepan.
  • Set a timer to run for three minutes. After the timer has gone off then give your mussels a stir, then move the shells that are not opened towards the bottom of the pot to aid in helping the cooking process.
  • Put the lid back in the pot, and set the timer to cook for an additional 2-4 mins.
  • Take your pot off the heat and then remove any shells that haven’t yet opened.
  • Serving your delicious mussels is the sauce from your pot , along with a side of baguette that is crusty to soak it all in.
  • Enjoy!

What Flavor Pairs Well With Mussels?

Read also: What Do Mussels Pair Well With?

The variety of flavors that can be paired with mussels is nearly infinite and range from the typical white wine-based cream sauce to a vibrant Thai coconut soup. Explore the following flavors that you can enjoy:

Classic White Wine Cream Sauce

For 2 pounds of mussels:

  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • two small shallots finely chopped
  • White wine 1 cup
  • Half cup thick cream
  • Butter 4 Tablespoons
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
  1. A large saucepan is heated on medium and add the garlic in olive oil, and shallots. Sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the garlic is soft.
  2. Mix in the white cream, wine butter, parsley, and white wine and mix.
  3. Add the mussels, mix together and close the lid. cook for 7 to 10 minutes until the mussels are open.
  4. Remove the mussels from the flame and divide the two containers, then divide portions of the sauce.
  5. Serve with baguette to dip or pour it over rice or pasta.

Mussels Using Tomato and Fennel Sauce

Recipe for 2 tonnes of mussels:

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bulbs cut finely Fennel
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine
  • Three cups of chopped tomatoes, or one 29 oz. can
  • Two teaspoons of fresh tarragon finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup veggie or fish broth
  1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Pour olive oil in and let it heat for 30 seconds, then mix in the garlic, the fennel as well as sea salt.
  3. Mix well and cover with a lid to let it soften for around 2 to 3 minutes..
  4. Incorporate the tomatoes, white wine and tarragon, and bring to a simmer at a high temperature.
  5. Incorporate the mussels and broth and stir together, put the lid on and let it steam for three to five minutes. Examine the mussels and take out any open ones.
  6. Then, steam it up for an additional 2 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the stove and serve with pasta, rice or with a slice of baguette.

Thai Mussels

2 lbs of Mussels:

  • One inch made of ginger and cut into matchsticks
  • One stalk of Lemongrass, cut into rounds
  • 1. Thai Red Chiles cut
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1.5 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup veggie or fish broth
  • Lime juice to squeeze through at the close

Saffron Citrus Mussels

For 2 lbs of Mussels:

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup white wine
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon threads of saffron
  • 1/3 cup thick cream
  • Orange zest of one orange
  • Lemon zest taken from one lemon
  • A fresh lemon is squeezed near the end

Cilantro Lime Mussels

For 2 lbs of Mussels:

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely cut
  • 1/3 cup cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 Cup white wine
  • Half cup thick cream
  • Zest and juice from the lime

How Many Mussels To Serve Per Person?

Mussels are an excellent choice for dinner parties because they’re quick and simple to cook. They’re great for entertaining and extremely adaptable in the flavors you can pair them with, meaning you’ll be able to show off your culinary talents.

A common guideline to serve mussels as an appetizer is to cook about 1 pound of mussels for each adult. Depending on the number of guests you’re serving, you might need several stockpots.

If you plan for your mussels to be served as an appetizer, try to prepare around half a pound of mussels per adult. Make sure to include the crusty bread that soaks all of the sauce.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.