A bowl of mussels one day, chowder the next – The Boston Globe

Lucky New Englanders live close to the source of good mussels from Massachusetts, Maine, and Prince Edward Island (sold as PEI mussels). Whether wild or cultured (both are good), modern mussel harvesting by reputable providers uses a sustainable method of collecting the mollusks from certified waters and returning the “seeds” (small mussels) to the beds as they are gathered. For cooks, preparing cultured mussels, the kind most widely available, isn’t a lot of work because much of that — purging (removing mud or sand) and debearding — is done before the mussels end up in the kitchen. The mussels steam in a matter of minutes in a little liquid in the bottom of the pot, which becomes a delectable sauce for scooping up with bread.

In this recipe, bacon, tomatoes, and cream make a flavorful broth for eating mussels in the shell. The next day, put the meat in a chowder with potatoes and corn for a delicious extension of your efforts.

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(For mussels, chowder)

8 ounces bacon

6 pounds fresh cultured mussels

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1¾ cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 baguette

1 cup frozen corn

6 plum tomatoes

3 Yukon Gold potatoes

1 medium onion

3 shallots

2 stalks celery

Few sprigs fresh thyme

½ bunch fresh parsley

1 lemon

Salt and pepper

1 cup clam juice

2½ cups white wine

Sally Pasley Vargas can be reached at [email protected]

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