Use your roasting pan for making oven steamed mussels with white wine and bacon in this fast and easy recipe! A quick and delicious seafood supper.
Here’s one of the things I like best about these oven steamed mussels. If you have ever made mussels (the way I have, about one million times because mussels are addictive!), the most challenging part is fitting them all in the pan.
Most recipes call for putting the mussels in a big old skillet, covering it and steaming them up. Which makes for delectable mussels…IF you can fit them all in the pan.
Because let’s face it, you need a lot of mussels to make up a dinner (about one pound per person, because mussels are package by weight with the shell still on) and while I have more than one big old skillet, it was always pretty crowded in there.
So the question is, can you bake mussels in the oven…and the answer is YES!
This recipe lets all the mussels hang out in your biggest roasting pan, along with leeks, white wine and a few other delectable things. Yes, that is bacon you see in that picture.
So get out that roasting pan you use to make the Thanksgiving turkey and let’s make it!
What are mussels, anyway?
Mussels are mollusks (sounds appetizing, right? But they ARE!) just like clams and oysters. I find them to be the most tender and delicious of all those types of seafood.
They are super high in protein, nice and low in calories, and they are pretty widely available at a pretty low price compared to their clam and oyster cousins. I pick up mine at the seafood counter at Wegmans – they come in two pound bags.
How do I store and prep mussels?
First tip (which I learned from a helpful seafood person at Wegmans!), do not close them up in a plastic bag – not even for the rest of your shopping trip.
Mussels are alive, and closing them up in a bag will not be good for them, so leave the top of whatever bag they are in open, both in your shopping cart and in your fridge.
Store them in the fridge until you are ready to cook, and then you want to rinse them off to get off any that have any sand on the shell – and you also want to toss any that have broken shells or where the shell is open.
Some mussels have what is called a beard – a fuzzy looking little piece on the end. Pull that off as you are rinsing…and now you are ready to roll!
Here’s What You Need To Make This Recipe
Here’s how to make This Recipe
STEP 1: Start by cranking your oven up to 500 degrees while you get things ready. We want it nice and hot, because the mussels are only going to be in there about 15 minutes or so.
STEP 2: While things are pre-heating, make a quick sauce to steam them up in. If your roasting pan will fit over two burners on the stove, you can go ahead and make the sauce right in the pan – I actually find it easier to make the sauce in a skillet and transfer it to the roasting pan right before it goes in the oven. One way or the other, start by cooking up some chopped bacon until it is crispy. Scoop it out to drain on paper towels and leave the drippings in the pan.
STEP 3: Now toss in some chopped leeks and saute them in the drippings just until they are tender. Pour in some white wine and bring it to a simmer for a minute or two.
STEP 4: Now pour the sauce into the roasting pan (if it isn’t there already) and add a heap of mussels – I usually figure on a pound of mussels per person minimum, because most of that weight is the shell. (See why we love a big roasting pan?)
STEP 5: Cover the pan securely with foil. Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes, and then carefully peek under the foil – the mussels should be wide open.
STEP 6: At this point (and this is optional but FABULOUS) I like to shove the mussels to the side and stir in a little butter to the sauce.
STEP 7: Now sprinkle on that bacon that you saved, and if it is fresh herb season I like to chop up some parsley or basil or even mint and sprinkle that on as well. It is currently the height of fresh herb season here, to the point where I am making herb bouquets and tucking them all over the house.
I mean, who wouldn’t want a vase full of fresh mint and oregano on their dresser? I ASK YOU.
I have been known to serve this right out of the pan with some crusty bread on the side to sop up that sauce…you can also serve it individually over plates of pasta with the mussels and sauce spooned over the top.
As long as their shells stay tightly closed they are good to go, but my rule of thumb is to buy the mussels on the same day I’m going to use them, or at most the day before. And remember to toss any that have broken or open shells.
Shallots or a sweet onion are a fine stand-in if you are fresh out of leeks! They are both sweeter versions of the classic onion and will work just fine.
Yes (sob!) but you do need the same amount of liquid for steaming the mussels. Bottle clam juice is a good substitute – you will get a little more of a seafood taste, but in my book that’s a good thing!
Last couple of tips: have a bowl on hand for folks to toss the shells into.
And then when you are ready to toss those shells, put them in a closed bag (if you have a disposable plastic grocery bag that’s perfect) unless garbage pick-up is the next day.
Roasting pans. They’re not just for Thanksgiving turkeys any more!