Living & Eating on Long Island's East End 
                        Steamed Mussels in White Wine

My name is Monique.
I'm a 2-time Emmy Award winning TV Producer.
Having been in the business for over 20 years,
I always wanted a website where I could share my thoughts and interesting information, so 
here goes.

Last year when I got married, I moved out of New York City to the East End of Long Island, to ...wait for it...The Hamptons.

Now before you roll your eyes, there's more to the Hamptons than mansions and celebrities.

The Hamptons have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, miles of productive farmland, plus a rich clamming history that continues to this day.

When I moved out east and realized I was surrounded, not just by the bounty of the sea, but also local farms and vineyards, I couldn't wait to explore and sample my new environment.

That's what this blog is about.  Living, exploring, discovering, news, food, history and sharing those experiences.

You'll notice that my blog is a little of this and a little of that, kind of like a potluck meal.

They're back! Yes, those delicious bivalves are back on the scene. I'm talking about mussels.

While clams and scallops have always attracted most of the attention out here on the East End, mussels have lived alongside their more popular cousins for centuries.

I first learned how to pick and gather mussels when I began coming out here on weekends about ten years ago. My husband, was then my boyfriend and he showed me how to gather them off of rocky beaches. Then we'd bring them home, steam them open with some white wine and eat them with a loaf of crusty bread. Oh delicious heaven!

This summer they're especially bountiful. We collected our first batch last weekend in Hampton Bays. They're the easiest thing to find and gather, as opposed to other shellfish that require rakes, boats and diving equipment. For mussels, all you need is a bucket to carry them in and a pair of good shoes -- sturdy shoes if you're climbing rocks, water shoes if you're wading amongst them.

Mussels live in the water by attaching themselves to rocks using their strong byssal threads. This is that thing that looks like a shaggy beard that hangs from the shell.

                          Mussels gathered on a rock

To gather ocean mussels, look for rocky beaches during lowtide. Avoid picking mussels anywhere near marinas or sewer discharge. Only pick live mussels that are still under water during low tide. The shell should be moist, shiny and smell like the ocean. If the shell is at all loose, cracked or open, throw it back.

Once you've brought your mussels home, keep them in the refrigerator until ready to cook, which should be within the next day or two. When you're ready to cook them you first have to 'de-beard them'. This is done by cutting off the byssal hanging from the shell. Use a pair of kitchen scissors and remove any small rocks or anything else attached to the shells.

Test them once again to see if they are alive. This can be done by holding the mussel between your thumb and forefinger, rub the mussel between those two fingers, pushing the top shell in the opposite direction of the bottom shell. If the shell is at all loose or opens it is dead, live ones will stay tightly shut. You can also scrub the mussels lightly if you want to at this point, then put them in a large pot. It's time to cook 'em.

                             Mussels in White Wine   

(This works with freshly caught mussels or store bought ones)

Two pounds fresh mussels
White wine
3-4 Cloves Garlic
Old Bay

First saute the garlic separately in a pan

Place mussels in a large pot with about an inch of water at the bottom.

Add 1/2 cup white wine to pot.

Sprinkle Old Bay all over the mussels in pot.

Add a few pats of butter to pot.

Add the sautéed garlic.

Turn on heat under pot and cover to cook.

The mussels are done when they open, this usually takes about 10 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened after cooking. They are dead and should not be eaten. 

Serve mussels in a bowl with some crusty French or Italian bread to soak up the amazing broth you've made. This amount can serve 4-5 people as an appetizer or add pasta to make it a main course. Enjoy!

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