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Monday Mollusks: easy IPA-steamed Mussels!

Quick post tonight to write a bit about a quick, easy snack! And to inaugurate my "Monday Mollusks" series ;)

I don't know about you, but I tend to struggle finding ways to have healthy snacks, and I tend to partake in various... activities... that increase my appetite for snacking. How does one find something to satisfy this snacky craving without annihilating your calorie count?? Not that a calorie count would do me any good these days!

So yesterday, while waiting on my friend's conducting recital, I was home working on some job applications and found myself feeling peckish. The day before, I'd found some mussels on special at Whole Foods (I know I know... cheating on Central Market!!) and bought a pound of them (just $3!). I hadn't found much that was easy and quick to eat in my little exploration of the kitchen, but when I eyed the mussels and a can of IPA in the fridge, I had found the perfect option!

Mussels, ladies and gents, are SO easy to prepare and eat, and take on the character of the broth in which they are steamed. Just get a saucepan with a lid, put the ingredients in, turn on the heat, and wait a few minutes!

I poured a can of IPA into the pan over the mussels after checking all the mollusks (if they're open, and stay open after a good solid tap on the counter, they're dead and should not be eaten), lots of butter, a healthy helping of minced garlic, minced shallot, Aleppo pepper flakes, oregano (dried... oops!), pepper, and salt. Any number of things could be added, however, and though I used beer here, a good dry white wine is the standard base for a sauce.

All you need to do is wait while they steam. Right when the last mussel opens, spoon out the mussels into a bowl and pour a healthy amount of the broth (but not all of it) over the top. The best situation is to have some sourdough toast (even better if grilled!) to sop up all that glorious broth while you eat. And even better, an empty mussel shell can be used like a pincer to pluck the mussel meat from the rest of the mollusks, so who needs a fork?

This is one of the easiest healthy snacks you can make. Next time you see some good-looking mussels at your local market, or if you can buy some online through a retailer like Maine Lobster Now or Fulton Fish Market, go for it! They are cheap, tasty, and healthy.

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