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where to buy mussels?

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marachino Aug 13, 2001 01:58 PM

i want to make some mussels in white wine sauce but am curious as to where i should buy the mussels. any recommendations?

also, as a sidenote, do you have a suggestion of a good, cheap dry white wine to cook them in?

thanks in advance,
mara

  1. p
    Pat Hammond Aug 13, 2001 02:04 PM

    I don't know where you may buy them since I'm on the east coast. But I prepare them a lot. They're VERY reasonably priced here in Maine. I usually use a decent dry vermouth. I have used dry white wine, but always go back to vermouth. Pat

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pat Hammond
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      Caitlin McGrath Aug 13, 2001 09:47 PM

      I gather it's a classic Julia Child tip, and I don't know if my mom got it from her or just figured it out herself, but I got it from my mom: dry vermouth is a good substitute for dry white wine in much savory cooking, and since it keeps, you can always have it on hand. And like Pat with her mussels, I've discovered I actually prefer vermouth to wine for some things.

      1. re: Pat Hammond
        b
        bryan Aug 14, 2001 02:17 AM

        I always use vermouth too. Sometimes a little pinch of saffron or a finish with fresh minced herbs. Mmmm.

      2. m
        Mike Wenzel Aug 13, 2001 03:45 PM

        I generally buy them at Bryan's in Laurel Village. Very fresh and the same price as Safeway (difference being half of them are usually DOA at the supermarket).

        As for a dry white, Trader Joe's has a 1999 or 2000 white Rioja for $3.99 a bottle (Marques de Caceres I believe) that I have used several times with good results.

        1. j
          Jim H. Aug 13, 2001 05:29 PM

          If you are near a Costco, the have a special seafood sale once a month in most stores. Clams, mussels, salmon, crab legs, etc. Mussels are around $1.39 a pound, which is a good price. Since this is a once a month event, they are usually very fresh. I think they are from Prince Edward Island. Hog Island Oyster Co on Tomales Bay might be a source for fresh mussels...I know they have fresh cockles.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jim H.
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            steve Aug 13, 2001 06:09 PM

            cockles, eh?

          2. m
            Melanie Wong Aug 13, 2001 08:13 PM

            When I decide to cook mussels, it's usually for a crowd, so I'll get a 15 lb. bag from The Fresh Fish Co. on the Embarcadero in SF. They sell very clean PEI mussels at wholesale prices.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong
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              gini Aug 15, 2001 12:09 AM

              The Fresh Fish Company also sells at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market on Saturdays. They used to carry a wonderful mussel from Maine called 'Bouchot'. They are harvested when they are very small, in what the farm that grows them describes as a French method of aquaculture. Ask if they are still available.

              Pat, do you know of this mussel? The farm is near Portland, I think.

              1. re: gini
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                Pat Hammond Aug 15, 2001 09:25 AM

                I've heard of that method. I don't have a proper fish market hereabouts and buy my seafood at the Shop and Save. One can buy mussels loose or in mesh bags. The bagged ones are much smaller and very uniform in size. I'll check to see if the bags says "bouchot", the next time I buy some. pat

                1. re: Pat Hammond
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                  gini Aug 16, 2001 12:40 AM

                  Pat, I don't know where you are in Maine but if you ever get to Portland try out Harbor Fish (Commerce Street). I used to buy from their wholesale operation -they also have a retail market. They are great people and represent the farm that grows the Bouchot mussel.

            2. j
              Jonathan King Aug 14, 2001 07:58 PM

              In Berkeley, I buy mussels at Monterey Fish on Hopkins. They're available elsewhere, of course, but I like to paw through the pile and pick 'em out one by one, to avoid heavies, empties, and opens.
              Gawd, vermouth: that takes me back. Was it Julia who recommended/specified that for mussels? I'd forgotten all about those first attempts lo! these many years ago. Gotta try it again...

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jonathan King
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                garcon Aug 15, 2001 05:37 PM

                Tips on the art of picking mussels much appreciated....

                1. re: garcon
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                  Jonathan King Aug 16, 2001 01:46 PM

                  In re 'heavies': It's always been my impression (garnered from where I can't recall) that, just as you want to avoid buying mussels that are gaping open, and that don't close up when you touch them, neither do you want to buy one that seems unnaturally heavy when you lift it ... because it's carrying a load of sand that will spoil the dish you're making on an aesthetic level, if not a hygienic one.

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