mussels must be spanky-clean?
I use the farm raised PEI ones, and it's a pain to scrape off all those little tiny adhesions on the outside of the shell in addition to pulling out the "beards."
A restaurant guy I know said he doesn't scrub 'em that much, just rinses 'em good in salt water.
Can anyone say from experience whether those little pimple-looking adhesions on the outside of the mussel shells make a difference in taste/cleanliness? I wouldn't worry except that I enjoy the sauce the shellfish are cooked in, of course.
Those little "adhesions" are a kind of growth
similar to a barnacle. They are not at all harmful. The only problem is that sometimes they retain a grain
or two of sand that may end up in the sauce or in your
mouth. I used to soak mussels for about an hour
before cooking to make them let go of all their sand
but I found that soaking dilutes that intense mussel
flavor. I get better results now that I just pull off the beards, scrub and cook.
(Mmm! Now I'm hungry and it's only 6:30 a.m.!)