Thursday, November 29, 2012

WW: Stir-Fried Mussels with Ginger and Scallions

Wok Wednesdays wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young

Plate styling: Andy Hagin (I just threw it on the plate..)

The last time I had mussels was probably about thirty years ago; I cannot even remember if I liked them or not.

I was going to pass on this recipe for I did not feel comfortable for a couple of reasons. One being I was worried about the safety of consuming the mussels; toss any that are open before cooking or ones that remain closed after cooking (completely or just a crack?). The other reason was on the humane side. Does the mussel feel pain when you rip the beard off - my research did not answer this for me. This is why I have not cooked lobster or crab; I cannot bring myself to throw a live creature into boiling water.

The great thing about being in a cooking club is it makes you step out of your comfort zone. If it was not for Wok Wednesdays I would not have attempted this recipe; that and my husband said we should give it a try. He likes it when we have something different from the norm, as do I.

As I was standing in front of the seafood case waiting my turn, inspecting the mussels I could not see the beard. I had done an internet search about removing the beard and it was not what I had envisioned. It looks more stringy than bushy.

I asked the fish monger about removing the beards and he informed me they had already been removed. It was my understanding that the mussel dies immediately after removing the beard. He explained to me they do it in a way that is more humane and does not kill the mussel; does this answer the question as to the pain a mussel feels if any? Yes they have no brain - but do we really know?

He instructed me to place the mussels in a colander and cover it with a paper towel and place them in the refrigerator. He also said not to submerge them in water for they do not do well in fresh water; just give them a quick rinse in cold water before cooking. So not only did I not need to remove the beards, I did not scrub them either. The quicker the better!

When I grabbed them from the refrigerator almost all the mussels were open! Do I need to throw them all out? As I shook the colander and moved them around they started to close - phew! I removed about seven mussels that did not close up all the way and one that the shell was cracked.

I am glad I stepped out of the box on this one. The mussels were fresh, moist, and tender with wonderful flavor. Once again Grace has given us a delicious, quick and tasty stir-fry.

Success meter (1-3): 3

Wok shot.

Did not eat this one. Is it considered closed or open?

You will not find the recipe here on my blog or within the Wok Wednesdays community. We encourage readers to go and purchase this book at their local independent bookstore or on-line.

Make sure to visit my co-wokkers to see their results on this stir-fry.
Look for the LYL link on the Wok Wednesdays page.

Visit Wok Wednesdays on Facebook!


  1. Great pics, and I enjoyed reading the story. We had very different experiences with this recipe, huh? I look forward to trying it with fresh mussels sometime.

  2. Cathleen, we eat a lot of mussels around here and enjoy them quite a bit but I have never made them in a Stir-Fry, it does look delicious and the recipe sounds wonderful!


Thanks for visiting! Would love to hear from you - feel free to comment.