Moules Marinieres or Mussels in Wine Sauce is the most common preparation of mussels. Originating from Belgium, this quick and easy recipe is made with easily procured items from your local market or grocery.
There are many different techniques on how to cook mussels, but the biggest similarity is that wild mussels must be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed several times before cooking. The simplest way to go about doing this is with a stiff brush to remove any barnacles, sand or grit. You must also remove the beard by pulling the beard from tip to hinge. The beard should pull off easily. Farmed mussels are usually already prepared for cooking. It is also important that your mussels are alive when buying them and cooking them, unless they have been shucked and frozen. If the shell is tightly closed, it is still alive. If the shell is slightly open, it should close promptly when tapped. If the shell is open and does not close when tapped, throw it out. Mussels are best in quality no more than 4 days after being harvested.
After you have cleaned your mussels you want to start with 1-2 cups water or a dry white wine (preferably a good Semillon) over high heat. Add in 1 finely chopped onion, 4 sprigs of Parsley, 1 sprig of thyme, 1 clove chopped garlic, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes before adding your mussels. When adding your mussels you want to makes sure not to stack them on top of each other, this will prevent the mussels on the bottom of the pan from opening and likely result in them overcooking.