Baked Cheese-Mayo Mussels are mussels slathered with a cheese, mayo, garlic and butter combination and baked in the oven for a few minutes.
You have probably tried this dish at Chinese or Japanese restaurants. It is so easy to make and can be prepared within minutes. You can serve it at home or as appetizer for gatherings. It looks pretty impressive and is very tasty.
Where Mussels Come From
The mussels that are commonly sold here in Houston are the New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel variety. They are known for being big and meaty. This is a cultivated species in New Zealand and exported all over the world. The New Zealand farms follow very strict guidelines and perform multiple tests for bio toxins, bacteria and heavy metals.
Common lore states that you should be eating shellfish like mussels in months with the letter ‘R’. This is because algae usually grows in the summer and they spread toxins that can be absorbed by shellfish. But in this age of commercial harvesting and farming, this lore is not true anymore as ‘R’ month shellfish can be flash frozen and sold during the algae months.
Baked Mussels with Cheese and Mayo
- 2 lbs New Zealand green mussels - fresh or frozen. *Note
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp garlic minced
- 1/2 cup mayo - if available use Japanese mayo Kewpie which is creamier
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp sriracha optional
- 1 tsp ground pepper
Preheat oven 400 F
If using fresh mussels, wash and discard broken shells. Put mussels in a medium sauce pan with 1/2 cup water, cover and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. Check if mussels have opened. Throw away the ones that did not. Cool mussels and set aside.
Mix mayo, cheese, garlic and sriracha in a bowl.
If using fresh mussels, remove the top shell of the cooled mussels. Also, remove beards.
Line up the mussels (shell down) on a baking tray. Put a spoon of mayo-cheese on top of each mussel
Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until golden
Remove from oven, transfer to plate and garnish with parsley.
Note: if frozen this is usually 1 bag, defrost it in the refrigerator
How to Serve
Serve mussels immediately after cooking. You can serve it as appetizer by itself or as part of a meal with rice or French bread. The popular Belgian dish moules frites (mussels with potato fries) is served with fries and this is another good option of serving this.
Are Mussels Sustainable?
Since there are hundreds of mussel farms in New Zealand, this is a sustainable resource at the moment. The farms have strict guidelines that they follow to make sure the shellfish are clean and free of toxins.
Wild and farmed mussels are also available locally in the US. There are mussel farms Penn Cove Shellfish in Washington State. Since they reproduce pretty quickly, there is little danger at present of running out of mussels.
Health Benefits of Mussels
Mussels are very high in Omega 3, almost at par with salmon. anti inflammation. Omega 3 is associated with good heart health, lower rates of cancer and less inflammation. A serving of mussels contain the daily recommended level of Vitamin C and very high levels of Vitamin B12.
Other ways to eat Mussels
- Mussels can be sauteed in ginger and made into soup with spinach. A very healthy Filipino dish
- Once opened by steaming, it can be sauteed in butter with garlic and shallots for about 3 minutes
- It can be added to paella – a Spanish rice dish often cooked with a variety of seafoods
- Grill until opened and drizzle with melted butter
- roasted in the oven and tossed with butter and aromatics like garlic and shallots
- Boiled/steamed in a pan with a splash of white wine and some garlic and butter
What do You Think?
Have I convinced you that this is an easy and yummy dish to make? The next time you see it fresh in the grocery, don’t hesitate to grab 2 pounds or more and try cooking it at home. The mayo and cheese are especially indulgent but there are other ways of cooking it that are not so high in fat. Experiment with it and see what you like.
It is a welcome variety from eating the usual chicken and beef and salmon. And it is not as expensive as lobsters. Enjoy this dish!
Kain Na! (Let’s Eat).