When you’re casting about for budget-friendly meal ideas these days, be sure to remember mussels. A steaming bowl of succulent mussels bathed in fragrant, savory broth is sure to satisfy this time of year. They’re one of the most affordable seafood options, and a snap to prepare.
Count on about one pound per person. After scrubbing and debearding, steam the mussels in a mixture of white wine, clam juice (chicken broth will work in a pinch in place of the juice), thinly sliced shallot, a couple of minced garlic cloves, and fresh herb sprigs such as parsley, thyme, and tarragon.
Once the shells have opened, place the mussels in a bowl and keep warm. Then reduce the cooking liquid to intensify the broth; swirl in butter at the end, if you like. Pour the liquid over the mussels and serve with crusty baguette to soak it up. Here’s a classic mussels recipe.