Since my wife convinced me to move to her childhood stomping grounds in the Puget Sound, I’ve always wanted to make the trip north to Penn Cove Mussel Fest in Coupeville, Wash. I’m told it’s well worth the 25-minute ferry ride to Whidbey Island to taste the local flavor of the “Bold, Briny and Blue!” Every year at the beginning of March, they have fresh mussel tasting, cooking demonstrations, fishing, shanty song sing-a-longs and so much more. Sounds like a hoot! Unfortunately, being a relatively new father, I just haven’t found the time to make the trip north.
But fortunately for me and anyone else who hasn’t made the trip yet, our Town & Country Market and Central Market locations have brought that local flavor to you. And right now, Live Penn Cove Mussels are just $5.99 lb., making this week a perfect time to enjoy delicious affordable shellfish that are super simple to prepare and enjoy. Throw in a fresh green salad and your talking dinner in less than 30 minutes.
Why Penn Cove Mussels?
Brimming with fresh, award-winning flavor, these low-fat, high-protein, Northwest mussels are harvested by the oldest commercial mussel farm in the U.S., just off Whidbey Island and Quilcene Bay. Their rope culture growing methods and fast growth rates in the nutrient-rich waters produce a delicious mussel with a firm texture and sweeter flavor than other mussels. “This is the proper way to grow mussels,” says David Levy, our Seafood Category Manager. “All of the seafood managers in our markets have been out on the water with Tim Jones, who manages the mussel farm, and it’s great to see how well they’ve developed their operation over the years.” With stringent tracking and year-round harvesting techniques, Penn Cove Shellfish is the pinnacle of quality.
Cooking Mussels: Got Six Minutes?
So what shall we do with all these delicious little blue treasures from the sea? Well if you’ve prepared mussels before, our Steamed Mussels recipe is a great introduction. Fresh parsley, garlic, Roma tomatoes and dry white wine form the broth for steaming the mussels. Throw in a crusty loaf of fresh bread for some extremely satisfying sopping.
With St. Paddy’s Day on the horizon, it’s a great excuse to experiment with our Irish Beer and Mussel Soup recipe. Light Irish beer, clam juice and a pinch of curry powder bring all the flavor and originality you crave.
Ready to step it up a notch? Our Seafood Paella recipe is the yellow brick road to the best of what the ocean has to offer. Smoked paprika, thyme, parsley and saffron add incredible depth of flavor to cod, mussels, clams and prawns. My mouth is watering already!
(These mussels are harvested fresh in Coupeville so please check availability with the Seafood Market in your local Town & Country Market or Central Market location.)
Our very own cheese whiz, Shauna Howell, offers up a cheese worth discovering.
Aged Ibérico From Solera: Made with a blend of pasteurized cow, goat and sheep milk, Ibérico is Spain’s table cheese of choice.
Solera Ibérico has more sheep milk than most for a richer, more buttery flavor, and they procure their milk from a cooperative of family farms in the La Mancha region. Its slight goat milk tang blends so nicely with the rich sheep milk and comforting cow milk to create a new everyday cheese experience.
It’s a wonderful melting cheese and delicious when served with quince paste on a cheeseboard. One of my favorite snacking cheeses to enjoy with figs and a nice bottle of Tempranillo.
Chris Allen is a copywriter and assistant marketer with Town & Country Markets. He’s a former contributing editor, radio anchor and producer, and an Air Force veteran. He’s also mastered the art of chopping red onions with one hand while sipping a dry Tempranillo in the other.