What to Serve With Mussels?

What to serve with mussels? Mussels are one of the most delicious seafood you can choose to have. They are even more delicious when cooked right and paired with the perfect dish. As a shellfish that goes well with many flavors and aromatics, mussels also provide various cooking options. Some of the best ways you can enjoy mussels include baking, steaming, or frying them.

How Did Mussels Come To Be a Dish?

There are more to mussels to their different cooking methods, however. When it comes to the history of the mussel as a dish, its origins were a subject of dispute. It took the finding of a 1781 Flemish manuscript to determine the story of mussels. They were a cheaper alternative when there was a shortage of fish, especially during wintertime. Since there are plenty of mussels to be found on coasts of the North Sea, the Belgiums were quick to adopt the shellfish. Currently, a popular way to enjoy mussels in Belgium is to have them with fries. 

Dishes That Go With Mussels

Mussels tend to have a fresh scallop flavor that blends well with a variety of spices and flavorings. Depending on the cooking method, there are a variety of dishes that you can serve with the super versatile shellfish. Among the different options, these are the best side dishes you can pair with mussels:

  • Bread

If you decide to have steamed mussels or cook them in a sauce like a white sauce or tomato sauce, bread is the perfect accompaniment. Not only does it make the dish more filling, but it helps balance out the richness of the sauce. What’s more, you can fully enjoy the dish by using the bread to sop up the sauce.

The best bread that you can serve steamed mussels with is either sourdough bread or garlic bread. Garlic bread may be a classic choice, but either option adds a delightful dimension to a mussel dish. An alternative bread you can serve with steamed mussels is a nice loaf of good crusty bread. Some types of crusty bread that you can choose from include baguettes and boules. Is sourdough bread, garlic bread, or crusty bread not something you have? Then consider having dinner rolls with your steamed mussels. A simple toasted bread can be considered as well if you want to steam mussels.

  • Stuffing

One of the more enjoyable ways you serve mussels is to bake them with stuffing. The best way to do this is to cook the mussels until they open and then bake them with the filling of your choice. Some of the best stuffing options for mussels include garlic butter, cheese, cream sauce, pesto sauce, and sauced bread. A good thing to note; if you plan to have your mussels cooked this way, it’s best to have them as an appetizer as they’re not the most filling.

When preparing the shellfish, you can boil or steam them for 30 minutes or more, then pick out the unopened ones. Once you have all the opened shells, tear off one side of the mussel and keep the meat on the other side intact. At this point, you can add your choice of stuffing on top then bake them.

  • Vegetables

Vegetables are an excellent option to pair with the delicious shellfish due to the variety in fresh tastes they provide. However, only certain vegetables complement mussels best. These include potatoes, asparagus, corn, squash, leeks, and jicama. The important thing is that you choose the best stew, broth, or sauce to mix with mussels and vegetables. It is extra significant to make the right choice if you are planning to have mussels with pasta. The wrong choice can have you end up with an overwhelming dish.

Vegetable Side Dishes

While we know that vegetables are an ideal complement for mussels, what kind of vegetable side dishes you can choose to serve with mussels are an entirely different matter. Different vegetables can enhance the seafood dish with the proper cooking method. As stated, the best vegetables that complement mussels are potatoes, asparagus, corn, squash, leeks, and jicama.

Potatoes, especially when made into French fries or wedges, can turn any mussel dish into a delicious meal. With how versatile potatoes are, you can have them salty or sweet to complement the seafood. A few ways you can have either French fries or wedges outside of the classic style are sweet potato fries and garlic parmesan cheese wedges.

Are French fries, sweet potato fries, or potato wedges not your thing? Then consider something with crunch and freshness like roasted vegetables or a green salad with your mussels. A few popular roasted vegetables you can serve mussels with include roasted broccoli and roasted asparagus. As for salads, some delicious options you can choose from include: a tomato salad, a fennel salad, or if you want something different, a jicama salad. Any of these options can make for a refreshing dish with shellfish.

Aside from having your vegetables fried, roasted, or turned into a lovely green salad, a vegetable soup is also a good pair with mussels. A potato leek soup makes the best accompaniment for a mussel meal. Not a fan of any of the vegetable dishes? There are also alternative side dishes you can enjoy with mussels.

Mussels and Pairings

Many other options are available to serve with mussels in addition to bread, vegetables, and stuffing. A good side dish can do a lot to enhance mussels and turn your meal into something hearty. One of the more versatile alternatives you can have with mussels is rice. Saffron rice is an ideal option if you want something simple but flavorful as a side dish. 

For something to add as a complement to your mussel dish, you can also have creamy risotto or spicy grits as an alternative. Other than rice, pasta also makes for an appropriate pair with mussels. Pasta can be even more enjoyable with the best sauce. Two of the best dressings you can have on mussels are either a white wine sauce or tomato sauce. As for the types of pasta that you can serve with mussels, they are spaghetti and angel hair.  

If you want to have a pasta dish with white sauce, include olive oil and butter in the mix. Simple ingredients can do a lot to improve a meal. By making the right mix, you can turn a simple white wine sauce pasta into a dish that has both a rich and buttery flavor. For something with more flavors and textures, consider angel hair pasta with a mixture of olive oil, butter, parmesan cheese, garlic, and fresh herbs. Does neither a white sauce nor tomato sauce appeal to you? Then consider looking into creamy sauces as an alternative for your seafood pasta dish.

In addition to rice and pasta, couscous also makes for an ideal option to serve with mussels. Couscous provides plenty of options in the way you can cook it. When pairing it with mussels, a spiced couscous with lemon juice, fresh herbs, and other seasonings is the perfect addition. You can even add extra flavor by adding roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers.

Mussels, Dishes, and Sides

As a seafood dish, mussels are a popular and versatile option that you can serve with various side dishes. Most often than not, the best side dishes that you can pair with mussels are either bread, vegetables, or even stuffing. When it comes to serving mussels with vegetables, however, be careful with your choice of cooking method. While there are different ways to enjoy mussels, various ingredients can do a lot to shift a simple seafood dish.

If none of the popular dishes appeal to you, there are other dishes you can choose to serve with mussels. Some alternatives for a great side dish can be as simple as pasta with grape tomatoes, fresh parsley, and olive oil. You also have the option to explore other possible choices to make your new favorite recipe as a mussel side dish.

For some mussel or side dish toppings, you can consider bread crumbs or red pepper flakes. Are you looking for an alternative vegetable that doesn’t involve roasting or a green salad? Try pickled mushrooms in a vinegar brine or braised leeks. You can even make popular dishes different by adding something to save more time. Something like seafood pasta with lemon juice and garlic bread or french fries with sour cream are options to consider. If you want something light, try a light broth or other types of soup such as leek soup.

Whatever option you choose or method you select to cook your mussels, there are many different ways you can enjoy the delicious seafood. Some of the things you will want to remember, though, are to keep things simple and find the best choice of required ingredients. By keeping these in mind, you can turn a simple meal into an elegant dinner.

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