Useful Tips

How to cook mussels in a slow cooker


Steamed clams (here we mean bivalve clams) - the main means for steaming them is juice, which is liberated abundantly when heated. They can be prepared by simply placing the clams in a deep pan with a thick bottom, securing it and putting it on fire. However, the addition of a small amount of white wine, as well as herbs and, finally, chopped aromatic vegetables will turn the liquid into a fragrant broth that can be served with clams - in its original form or boiled during boiling, with the addition of pieces of butter and seasoned with lemon.

Bivalve mollusks become edible as soon as the flaps open wide, further processing will cause their meat to become dry and stiff. They should be steamed over high heat, vigorously shaking the pan so that all the mollusks get warm evenly. Before you start, you need to check if the mollusks are alive, if at least one inanimate is found in the pan, you will have to discard the whole dish. Steaming is both a complete shellfish cooking process and the first step in preparing more sophisticated and complex dishes.

The liquid can be added, for example, to veluté sauce or used as an additive to the fume for boiling fish, while the mollusks themselves can be served as a side dish. Steamed bivalves can be dipped in beaten dough and fried, or you can cook a casserole from them, covering it with a crust of breadcrumbs.

Steamed clams with a small amount of wine - a cooking method called a la meuniere - are demonstrated here using mussels and coastal snails. In essence, the procedure is the same for both species.

Special Clam Preparation

Since mollusks either cook very briefly or are eaten raw, they must be absolutely fresh. If you catch them yourself, consult your local fishermen or your local fishing community to see if the mollusk’s habitat is contaminated.

Most bivalves — for example, mussels, oysters, and heart-shaped ones — are sold alive, usually with closed cusps. If the flaps are open, tap on them, if they do not close, then, most likely, the clam is dead, such shells should be thrown away.

Single-winged mollusks, such as shore snails and trumpeters (or buccinum snails), are usually sold pre-packaged.

Since most mollusks live in sandy or silty areas of the ebb and flow line, they usually swallow sand and other small particles during feeding. Having brought the next catch home, scrape, holding the shells in the water, all the growths formed on them with a knife or a stiff brush, then place the clams in a pan with cold salted water. They will live for several more hours and themselves will throw out the sand and dirt remaining inside. Change the water as it gets dirty.

There are two main ways of opening bivalve mollusks and extracting their meat: manually opening the cusps, in which sometimes it is necessary to cut the muscle connecting the cusps of the mollusk, and heat treatment, in which the cusps open themselves. Oysters should always be opened manually (photo on the right), as during heat treatment their meat becomes stiff. Scallops can either be opened manually, or by placing them in the heated oven for several minutes, in any case after that you will have to separate the edible parts of the mollusk from the inedible ones (photo on the next page, top). Mussels are usually steamed in an open pan, which is part of their preparation, however, for some dishes, manually opening the mussels is required.

Shore snails and trumpeters are almost always steamed before cooking or boiled in boiling water until cooked. Their meat can then be pulled out using a hairpin or a small skewer.

Mussels have a bunch of thin, hair-like strands at the junction of the shell cusps. This is the so-called beard, which serves to ensure that a living mollusk can cling to the rocks. Before cooking, the beard should be removed.

The trumpeters depicted here should be boiled in boiling water for 10-20 minutes, while cooking snails takes only 5-10 minutes. Using a small hairpin, pick up and remove the meat from each sink.

1. Separation of the wings. Lay the oyster wrapped in a folded napkin on a hard surface with the flatter side up. The place where the clams are fastened together should be facing you. Hold the clam tightly with one hand, take a special oyster knife in the other and insert the tip of the knife into a small slot in the junction of the wings (top photo). Turn the blade of the knife so that the wings open (bottom photo).

2. How to tear a muscle. Continuing to hold the oyster firmly wrapped in a napkin, slide the knife blade along the inside of the upper leaflet to break the muscle that holds the leaflet together. Discard the upper casement and remove the lower rounded casement from the napkin, making sure that liquid does not spill out of it. Scrub all pieces of the broken sash with the tip of a knife.

3. Cutting oysters from the shell. Hold the bottom flap firmly with your fingers. Guide the knife blade under the oyster toward you to cut off the muscle that attaches it to the lower leaf, and thus separate the oyster from the sink. Oyster can be swallowed raw directly from the sink along with its juices, pre-seasoned to taste with lemon juice or freshly ground pepper.

1. Opening the sash. Keep the clam wrapped in a napkin, flat side up. Use a short knife to find a small hole between the wings. Insert a knife blade into it and open the upper leaf so as to break the internal muscle.

2. Department of meat. Separate the leaves completely. Put the blade of the knife under the grayish outer edge of the pulp - the shirt, to free the mollusk itself (top photo). Remove the meat from the shell and separate the white muscle and pink caviar from other organs (bottom photo). Muscle and caviar are the best parts, a shirt can be used in the preparation of fish bread, everything else should be discarded.

How to cook mussels in a slow cooker:

First you need to rinse the mussels well, it is best to do this under a powerful stream of running water. By the way, at the same stage we checked the product for “professional suitability”: the director of the boarding house advised mercilessly throwing out all open shells, they are considered to be missing.

Pour water into the bowl of the multicooker (up to a third of the volume). We press the “boiling” button, in other multicookers it can be “steaming” or “soup”.

When the water in the slow cooker begins to boil, lay our mussels. After two minutes, select them with a slotted spoon, and drain the water.

Pour in fresh water (about 1.5 liters), cold. Press “boiling” the second time. We lay mussels. We also add juice squeezed from lemon, and the lemon itself can also be sent to a slow cooker, then fresh parsley (dill if desired), and finally chopped garlic. Cover the lid.

During cooking, mussels can be mixed a couple of times. By the way, when stirring, you can choose them, if the leaves open, then the clam is ready, so take it out so that it does not digest.

You can serve them immediately in the "shell" - it will turn out very exotic. My husband and I poured ourselves a glass of white wine and enjoyed a new dish for a long time ... Well, while the children fiddled with interest with forks in the "snails" and ran to eat ice cream.

By the way, this is an ideal dish for two, because all seafood is aphrodisiacs!

For the recipe with the photo, we thank the author under the nickname Dobrova!


Mussel beard removal
Mollusk piercing
A safe and effective way to clean oysters
How to open and clean the scallop