Dutch mussels are a real treat. And this recipe is great whether you’re visiting The Netherlands and want to make this Dutch mussels recipe with fresh mussels from Zeeland or the Wadden Sea, or if you’re going to make Dutch-style mussels at home. This is a mussels recipe without wine, but it does include beer (an alcohol version, not non-alcoholic).
This mussels recipe also includes tips on how to clean and cook mussels. It’s a very easy and simple mussels recipe, but delicious.
History Dutch Mussels in The Netherlands
Mussels have been eaten by people who lived along the coast in nowadays The Netherlands. In the 15th century, people discovered that you could place a surplus of the mussels in the water closer to home, and they would continue to grow and could be harvested later on again.
Over the centuries, the demand for mussels increased, which led to overfishing in the Zeeland region’s waters and discussions between the local fishermen. That is the reason why mussel fishing has been regulated since 1825. The fishing period, methods and the size of the mussels were all written down. Fishers were able to fish for mussels on plots of the sea that they won in a draw. From 1870, the musselgrounds could be rented. It takes around two years for a mussel to grow into the one that you consume.
Nowadays, most Dutch mussels come from the town of Yerseke and Bruinisse (both are located in the Zeeland province). You can also find mussel fishers in Zierikzee, Tholen, Hontenisse and Wieringen.
Dutch Mussels Recipe
- 4 kg of fresh mussels (preferably from a fish shop or mussel shop)
- 4 big onions (roughly cut)
- 8 stalks of celery (roughly cut)
- 4 teaspoons of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
- 8 bay leaves
- 1 bottle of beer of roughly 30cl (at room temperature)
- A bit of salt (not a lot!)
- Optional: Add chilli flakes or a few red peppers (not bell peppers, the spicy ones)
Good for around 4 people – 30 minutes preparation – 5-10 minutes to cook
1. Clean the mussels really good on the outside and check if they are not broken or opened. If mussels are opened: Tick them on your counter. If they don’t close, they are dead and should not be added to your pan.
2. After you’ve cleaned the outside of the mussels, you will rinse the mussels under running water.
3. Now, you will add layers to your pan: you can either use a special mussel pot or a tall soup pot.
4. Add a layer of mussels to the bottom of the pot. Then add a layer of onions, celery, black pepper, thyme and salt (optional chilli flakes or red peppers). Add another layer of mussels, then another layer of vegetables and spices. Continue your mussels’ layering, but make sure that you don’t fill your pot with too many mussels. You should have space in the pot for the mussels to turn around when you shake the pot later on. I can recommend you only to add approximately 1,5 kg per pot.
5. When the layers are finished, you add the lid to your pan.
6. Put the heat source on the highest heat and place the pot with the mussels on it. If your mussels are fresh, you don’t have to add water to steam/boil them. Otherwise, you need to add a little bit of water.
7. In the meantime, you make sure that the bottle of beer is opened.
8. Boil the mussels with the juices that they release until the juices flow over the lid. Then you lift the lid and shake the mussels. Add the cover again and let it boil up again. Lift the lid and shake the mussels too. Place the top back up the pot and let it boil over again: lift the lid and shake it again. So, in total, you will be letting the mussels boil over and shake them three times.
9. Then, you will add the beer to your steamed mussels: for every 1,5- 2 kg, you use around half a bottle.
10. Let the mussels boil again; as soon as that happens, you take the pan off the heat and shake them around one last time: Your mussels are finished.
11. Now serve your Dutch mussels, add some fresh parsley on top, and you’re ready to enjoy your Dutch mussels.
These steamed mussels without wine are delicious and is, in my humble opinion, one of the best mussels recipes in the world. Not only is this an easy way to cook mussels, but it’s very quick too.
Do you have leftover boiled mussels? Then this little recipe for baked Dutch mussels is fantastic for you, as we don’t let these bad boys go to waste. It’s so tasty.
- Leftover boiled mussels
- Onions (sliced in rings)
- Bell pepper (in slices)
- A hand of flour
- Fresh parsley
- Pepper and salt
- Some bread (whichever bread you prefer)
Place the flour in a bowl, or deep plate, with some salt and pepper. Toss the mussels in the flour and stir it. In the meantime, you bake the onions in the butter until they are glassy. Add the bell pepper and then bake this together until the onions are brown. Then you will add the mussels in the pan until they get a nice brown colour. Place some of the mussels on bread, add parsley and enjoy.
Handy tools to use for this recipe
I hope you enjoyed this recipe on how to cook mussels and that you’ve liked reading the best steamed mussels recipe, as well as the best baked mussels recipe. It’s especially great if you want to relive memories of your visit to the Zeeland province and the mussels you’ve eaten. But, anyhow, it’s a recipe that you will make plenty of times after this.
Don’t forget to share your photos of this steamed mussels recipe you’ve created with me on Instagram @visitingthedutchcountryside and Facebook @visitingthedutchcountryside so that I can share your works of art.
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Although I would love to claim that this is a family recipe, it is not. However, this is the best way to make traditional Dutch mussels from the Zeeland province. All the credits for this recipe go to Saskia Maaskant, from Meerminnen verdrinken niet (or actually, her mum). Saskia has also written several interesting Dutch books, but I would recommend you one special book, called ‘Meerminnen verdrinken niet’. This is a great souvenir if you speak or are learning Dutch and want to read a beautiful story about mussels and the life in Zeeland, which can be bought at quite a few local bookstores in the Zeeland province (in towns like Goes).
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