Buying fresh black mussels (such as PEI) near mission valley
- afinkle Dec 17, 2010 02:10 PM
I know they have mussels at the supermarkets like Ralphs, but 6.99/lb is a bit expensive. Last time I bought from Whole foods ($$) half were dead. I returned them and the manager gave my money back plus a huge batch of carefully checked live mussels. Still, I would rather not have to deal with that again.
I know most people here don't seem to cook mussels at home, but being from the east coast, it was a great easy home cooked meal.
Does anyone have a decent place in town they go to buy live mussels?
I cook them often. Blue Water regularly has them, but better to call ahead to make sure. I'd also recommend local black mussels- why have them imported when the local species are superb? In fact, there is a company up in Santa Barbara that is paid by the evil oil companies to vacuum huge bulks of the mussels off the substructures of the oilrigs in the SB channel. Then the company turns around and sells some of these amazingly good, deep blue clear water, mid-column "farmed" mussels for a tidy profit. Envy that business model.
Our local groceries, including Vons etcetera often have CA mussels. When they do, the quality will be the same as those found at Whole Foods or Blue Water, and usually a bit cheaper.
What's your recipe? I usually start with fried garlic chives, parsley and some shallots, throw in the whole huge mesh bag of mussels and add a whole bottle of white wine with a little salt and pepper. Cheap and "gourmet"- can't be beat...
Do you really like the Carlsbad mussels? I found their oysters to be a bit mushy ( iI am not sure I am describing it that well). I can sure tell the difference between Washington and Vancouver Isl. and ones grown further south. The ones from the north taste some much crisper and briney. I am not sure how much water temp plays a role in mussel flavor. I am sure freshness plays the major role.
Interesting- I had the C-bad oysters right next to a bunch of Washington ones recently at Ocenaire, and found the opposite. I know that the oyster can be firm or less so (they refer to that type as "creamy"), and still be delicious. But the ones from Carlsbad were on the firm-side with less brinyness than some of the Kumamotos. I think the variables of marine chemistry have a huge diversity of outcomes on oysters in general, and have yet to experience absolute consistency in any type no matter how "fancy" with the exception of those from the Gulf of Mexico, which I love, or used to, back when they were available.
Believe it or not, I just bought mussels for the first time at the Morena Costco this past week and they were really good. I bought a package for about $5, put it in the fridge that night, and then cleaned and cooked them for dinner the next day (after letting them sit in fresh water for 1/2 an hour to clean themselves out). Out of the 40 or so mussels in the package, only 3 were DOA. Cooked for 3 minutes on high heat with some white wine and spices. They were GREAT. Among the most tender mussels I've ever had. I'm going to put the Costco mussels in regular rotation now.
Never tried the PEI mussels from Whole Foods but I often get Carlsbad Aquafarm mussels and have never had a problem. Might want to try Catalina Offshore products for mussels. Blue Water, Pt. Loma Seafood are also good bets.
Salty - try adding a Gueuze or a Lambic instead of the wine. I make something incredibly similar, perhaps with a little fennel added in as well for aromatics. And I've decided what is now for dinner this Sunday...
Mission Valley Costco has them. That's pretty close. Otherwise, I head for Point Loma Seafoods on Scott St. in Point Loma.
Point Loma Seafoods
2805 Emerson St, San Diego, CA 92106
Point Loma Cafe
4856 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
re: Indirect Heat
I know that Ranch 99's fish counter is diverse, interesting and cheap, but these days I'm starting to view Chinese aquaculture practices through the same dun-colored lenses that Josh et al use for commodity beef. I might lump Thai, Vietnamese, Chilean, and Japanese into this sustainability issue bouillabaise, but that might invite the troll. The difference for me is that aside from lots of unsustainable practices, Chinese seafoods are occasionally highly unhealthful due to industrial pollution. Not to mention the general cleanliness issues throughout R99, which I will mention.
I feel like I can trust some of our smaller mongers (like Blue Water) to source locally. This isn't always the case, and when it is can be very pricey: i.e. the $28.74 fish plate at Blue Water. If the ever-faithful Fieri Fascists give you the fantods (crowds), just cut to the fish counter, ask for Ryan, pay at the secret second cash register, and you'll be outta there faster than you can decide not to go to go to Hodad's.