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How to Cook Freshwater Mussels

Home > Far North Queensland > Recipes | Australian Native Food | Australian Bush Tucker
by Lisa Morgan (subscribe) life as it is meant to be experienced - outside the rat race, barefooted and content in one's own skin.
Published February 2nd 2013
Gourmet Aussie bush tucker for the hunter gatherer
How to Cook Grilled Freshwater Mussels
YUM!!! Enough said : )
I have often heard it told freshwater mussels are unpalatable and not-so-good to eat, compared with the saltwater variety. To me that just says that most people don't know how to properly prepare and cook freshwater mussels. It is true they are not as soft as saltwater mussels, and are more tough like clams, but they are just as delicious!

After the freshwater mussels have been purged, the shells can be opened by steaming them in a frying pan on high with about ¼ inch water on the bottom. Remove them as they open. I like to put in a little vinegar in the steaming water as the muscular foot of a mussel can be quite tough to chew.

Put the shell halves with the mussels in them on a grill. Dispose of the empty shell halves.

From here on, invent yummy, scrumptious ways to cook up your mussels. I think the best recipe for freshwater mussels is our favourite – Grilled Mussels in Sweet Chilli Sauce. I am salivating just thinking about it, and unfortunately for me I ate the last of our mussel catch a few days ago!

Grilled Mussels in Sweet Chilli Sauce

Ingredients: Worcestershire sauce, sweet chilli sauce, finely chopped garlic sauteed in butter, extra butter, grated cheddar cheese, salt, pepper.

Directions: Sprinkle the sautéed garlic over the mussels, and add small pats of butter on the top. Salt and pepper to taste. Pop on a tray under the grill until the butter melts. Drizzle Worcestershire sauce and sweet chilli sauce over the mussels. Sprinkle grated cheese over the lot and pop back under the grill. Mussels are ready when you smell the shells start to burn (it is a distinctive smell). By then, the cheese will have melted and browned slightly. Eat... and then bemoan not having any more mussels. You'll definitely want seconds!

Do you have a freshwater mussel recipe that you think owns? Let us know about it in the comments below. I'd love to have more recipes to try out. In the meantime for those who are interested in trying out this shellfish delicacy, why not hunt your own freshwater mussels? Fresh, wild caught mussels... mmhmm I think it is time for me to gather more!
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Why? Because they are so good you'll want thirds!
When: Lunchtime, dinnertime, snack time and all the times in between!
Cost: Free if you hunt them!
Your Comment
Dear Lisa, we are truly indebted to you.
We purged 4 kg of L Tinaroo mussels as you described then followed your wonderful recipe.
What a great discovery for us.
Life is indeed good with treats like this.
Cheers, Trevor, Ha and Aurora.
by trevo (score: 0|3) 2960 days ago
Please clarify what you mean by "under the grill". Here in Washington State, a grill is something you put burgers on, stakes on. Under the grill would mean putting it essentially on the ground "under the grill". Do you mean putting it in the stove under a broiler?
by jpmsc (score: 0|2) 916 days ago
Hey, in europe we sometimes say grill meaning the heating device in oven or microwave that hangs under the top for finishing off the dishes. Some kitchens also have an isolated device od this sort called salamander :)
by lukas (score: 0|2) 910 days ago
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