Q. I like to cook mussels for dinner sometimes, but I’ve always cooked them the same way. I find that it can be a bit time consuming and I would like to find a faster way to cook them. My son thinks I’m old-fashioned, and suggested that I simply microwave the mussels instead. He said it would be faster and take less effort than my traditional method. I’ve never heard of anyone microwaving mussels before though, and I don’t know how to do it. Can you microwave mussels?
A. Yes, you can microwave mussels! I don’t know how it will compare to your traditional method, but if saving time is your goal, then it can certainly be done. In fact, they can be cooked and reheated in the microwave, in case you find yourself with leftovers. To microwave mussels you are basically steaming them open, so you will need to cook them in water.
How to microwave mussels?
First, start with fresh mussels. When purchasing mussels, choose mussels that are tightly closed. If you see mussels that are open, give them a tap on the shell. Fresh mussels will snap shut at the tap. If they do not close when tapped, do not purchase them. Keep mussels refrigerated until ready to use, but it is recommended to use them as quickly as possible for optimum freshness.
To prepare, cut the brown cord that runs between the two shells with scissors or simply pull it free. Rinse the mussels under cool water to remove any dirt or grime. Then, place the mussels in a single layer in a microwave-safe dish. Add a ¼ cup of hot water to the dish, and then place in the microwave. Cook the mussels on high for about 4-5 minutes. The mussels are ready when the shells open wide and the flesh comes away from the shell easily. Don’t overcook mussels or the meat will toughen up.
Remove the mussels from the microwave and serve immediately if serving as is, or allow the mussels to cool enough to add to your favourite recipe. The cooking juices can also be used to flavour soups or rice dishes. If you have leftovers, refrigerate mussels for up to 48 hours be covering them tightly. Mussels can be reheated in the microwave on a medium high heat until they are heated through. Discard any mussels that have already been reheated once.