Here is one of the very simple seafood preparations I made for Christmas Eve and Lunch.
1 kg Fresh Mussels, de-bearded and cleaned (Clams or Pippies can be substituted or added)
1/2 Bottle White Wine (Buy a reasonable white wine)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Garlic
1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Ginger
1 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Lemon or Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Butter
Fresh Herbs of your choice
Good Crusty loaf of bread (sourdough is a treat)
Using a wok, dump in all of the Mussels. Pour the rest of the ingredients, down to and not including the lemon or lime juice, and toss together. Put the heat to the wok and cover.
As soon as the liquid comes to a rolling boil, take the Wok off the heat and remove the lid. Toss everything together to loosen up the mussels, and they should be opening up. If none open, give them another 1 minute of boil and steam (with the lid on), but no more.
Start sorting the mussels and putting the opened ones into one bowl, while the closed ones get discarded (tap the closed ones first, as they might spring open). Ones that are just opened slightly can be used. If you want, you can separate the meat from the shells, but I prefer not to. I like to use the shells as tongs to extract the meat while I am eating, and love the sauce that gathers in the shell.
Strain the remaining juice (called liquor) and put it back in the wok. Add the lemon juice, then the butter a small piece at a time, stirring until melted. Yep, you’re making a sauce.
Add the sauce back to the mussels with the herbs and toss one last time. Serve hot with the loaf of bread and the rest of the chilled white.
As with all seafood, the key here is not overcooking. the mussels will continue to cook in the bowl with the residual heat, so better to undercook them slightly. If you could, you’d be tossing the mussels in the wok and removing them the instant they crack open. The other key is the wine. Do not use a wine that you would not drink. Don’t spend more than $20 either (I try to keep it at just over $10 if I can).