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Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Mussel Shell
Photo from: Gargi
mollusks. This includes a wide range of beings from snails to squid, octopus, scallops, cuttlefish, clams oysters etc.  Like crab, they were often were used, as today, in French cookery or ground and wrapped in other products like lard or butter, sauce, etc.

Andalusians of the Middle Ages also used them for ocular cures and antidotes against poison. Once cooked, it is thought that the juice or broth from river crabs was used to improve the physical state. Also, it has been confirmed that the famous men inhabiting northern Africa ate large quantities of lobsters frequently and thought them tasty. On the contrary, in Al-Andalus they were not, due to their bad reputation for causing death from food poisoning. Further, the Jewish and Islamic religions prohibit the consumption of mollusks.

Christians did and continue to enjoy eating mollusks. Beginning in spring, mussels are pulled off ocean rocks and plopped into a pot of boiling water. When Christ fed the 5,000, the “fish” used must have been mollusks for so few can feed so many!

[Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:158]


The Viscerla Masses of Mussels
Covered with Sauce
For 4 persons

1 ¼ lb mussels without shells
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove mashed
1 ½ tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 c milk
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp white pepper
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
a drizzle of olive oil

A Delightful Variation for Preparing Mussels
Photo by: Lord-Williams

Scrape brine off mussel shells and wash them thoroughly. Put in a pot of water, olive oil and a garlic clove and bring to a boil. Continue boiling gently until the shells open. Remove from heat. Discard any shells that did not open. Cool the rest in cold water. Remove the visceral mass by the foot and set aside.


Melt butter in a pot. Add flour little by little. Stir constantly to mix butter with the flour. Add milk little by little until blended. While stirring add seasoning. Cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened.

Place mussels in an oven proof dish. Pour the sauce over them. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Drizzle with olive oil.

Heat 10 minutes, until piping hot and the breadcrumbs have browned. Serve immediately.

[1] For another super recipe for mussels see blog titled mejillón published May 16, 2016. 

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