Fresh steamed mussels are a beach shack treat you can easily make at home. Here, five variations from Marc Murphy, chef-owner of the seaside-inspired Ditch Plains in New York City. Mussels in White Wine Makes 4 servings Total time: 1¼ hours
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 cup dry white wine
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp. ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Heat oil in a 6- to 8-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add mussels and white wine and cover. When steam starts to appear, cook until mussels open, about 5 minutes more. Add parsley and butter. Add salt and pepper, plus more to taste. Cook uncovered 3 minutes more and serve with crusty bread.
Make ratatouille: Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ¾ cup diced red onion and 2 cloves chopped garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add ½ cup diced red bell pepper and 1½ cups diced eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup diced zucchini and 1 cup diced yellow squash, season with ½ tsp. kosher salt, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 12 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. Follow directions for Mussels in White Wine, adding reserved ratatouille to mussels with parsley and butter.
Mussels with Spicy Chorizo Total time: 40 minutes
Follow directions for Mussels in White Wine, sautéing in oil ½ pound fresh chorizo, casings removed, breaking up the meat into small pieces. Leave out shallots and instead add 1 sliced red onion with garlic.
Curried Mussels Total time: 45 minutes
Follow directions for Mussels in White Wine, adding 2 Tbsp. olive oil (for a total of ¼ cup) to the pot. Add 1 sliced red onion to pot with shallots and garlic. Add 2 Tbsp. yellow curry powder and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes, then add mussels, stirring to coat. Add 1 cup coconut milk with wine. Add 1 pint grape tomatoes with parsley and butter.
Dijonnaise Mussels Total time: 35 minutes
Follow directions for Mussels in White Wine, adding ¼ cup whole grain mustard and 1 cup heavy cream with parsley and butter, cooking uncovered 5 minutes more instead of 3.
Farmed mussels are a sustainable seafood choice and available year-round. You'll often find them in two-pound mesh bags at the grocery store seafood counter. To clean, run cold water over them in the sink and scrub the shells against one another to remove barnacles. Discard any mussels that aren't tightly shut or have a broken shell. Using your fingers, pull out the "beards" from between the shells and discard (you can use a paper towel for a better grip). To store uncooked, cleaned mussels, place them in a colander and set in a bowl of ice; they can keep in the refrigerator for up to two days.