In this recipe for green mussels, I will show you how to cook green mussels with ease. I steamed the mussels in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with garlic, shallots, wine, and butter. They cook quickly and make a delicious appetizer or main dish.
What are New Zealand Mussels?
New Zealand Mussels, called Perna canaliculus, are shellfish that come from the shores of New Zealand. The white mussels are male: and the orange mussels are female. They're a little larger than the black mussels we get in the US, plumper, and taste a little sweeter.
Their deep green color makes a beautifully plated dish. I got these in a two-pound box from Key Largo Fisheries. They are also available in the freezer section of most supermarkets.
As you can see, these New Zealand green-lipped mussels are sold in the half shell, meaning the top shell has been removed.
Talley's mussels are cleaned and blanched, so very little effort is required.
What You Need
- New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussels
- Shallots or a big onion
- White wine
- Fresh parsley
- Salt and Pepper
How To Cook Green Mussels
First, defrost the mussels. You can remove them from your freezer and place them in the refrigerator overnight.
If you're short on time, place the mussels in a large bowl of cold water. Change the water every 15 minutes and they should be ready in about 45 minutes.
I cooked these green mussels in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. If you are cooking over two pounds, use a 6 or 8-quart pot that has a tight-fitting lid.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add shallots or a diced yellow onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook for about 2 minutes, or until shallots are soft and smell delicious! Add butter, parsley, and wine; cook for one minute.
Raise heat to high; add mussels. Cover tightly, and cook, shaking the pan frequently.
Cook for about 8 minutes. If you are using black mussels, cook for 8-10 minutes or until they all open up. Toss the ones that don't open. There's conflicting information about the unopened mussels. Better to be safe.
Remove mussels from the liquid and place in a large serving bowl. Season broth with salt and pepper. Pour broth over mussels and garnish with fresh parsley.
Mussels cook quickly and are best eaten hot. That said, the rest of your meal should be on the table before the mussels, so everything is ready at the same time.
- If you have prosecco or champagne, either can be used in place of the wine.
- To use black mussels instead of green, cook the mussels in a 6 or 8-quart pot, not a skillet, so they have room to open.
What Goes With Green Mussels?
This Green Mussels Recipe can go with spaghetti or rice. Or, you can eat it right out of the pot!
- Cauliflower Rice
- Tiny Roasted Red Potatoes
- Lemon Asparagus Rice
- Roasted Cauliflower, Carrots, and Asparagus
- Gluten-free breadsticks which would nicely "sop up" the yummy sauce!
Serve the Mussels as an appetizer before Roasted Snapper with Old Bay, an easy fish recipe that tastes great!
Green Mussels from New Zealand are Anti-Inflammatory
Healthline reports that green-lipped mussels contain chondroitin sulfate, a component of connective tissues like joints and bones that may reduce inflammation in the same way. The author went on to say "Besides these anti-inflammatory nutrients, the mussels are a good source of zinc and iron, selenium, and several B vitamins."
Although the Healthline article does not make health claims, it lists the following conditions that may improve with green-lipped mussels supplementation:
- Muscle Soreness
What's The Difference Between Green and Black Mussels?
The difference between green and black mussels is subtle, but there are a few strong distinctions.
- For starters, the color is different. Black mussels have black and blue shells. Green mussels are brown and black with a teal, or green-colored tint to their shells.
- Black mussels are typically smaller in size, with an average length of 2 to 4 inches. Green mussels are larger, with an average length of 4-8 inches.
- Black mussels have a sweet, briny flavor with a tender texture. Green mussels have a stronger flavor and they are firmer in texture.
Green-lipped mussels, also known as New Zealand green mussels, are delicious.
New Zealand green shell mussels are slightly larger than the black mussels we get in the US, very plump, and taste a little sweeter.
Green half-shell mussels are packed in 2-pound boxes and available at many grocery stores and fish markets. They come frozen, cleaned, and debearded. All you have to do is defrost them.
Rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, mussels offer a range of nutritional advantages along with their delectable taste. Incorporating them into meals can be a great way to enjoy both their flavor and health benefits.
Green mussels are native to the Indo-Pacific region, including Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, and parts of Australia. They are commonly found in tropical and subtropical coastal waters, often attached to rocks.
Like other shellfish, green mussels are a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, and minerals such as copper and iodine. They are also low in fat and calories.
Green-lipped mussels, also known as New Zealand green mussels, are indeed from New Zealand. They are a specific species of mussel known scientifically as Perna canaliculus. These mussels are distinct for their greenish shell edges, which give them their name. Green-lipped mussels are native to the waters around New Zealand and are known for their unique flavor and nutritional benefits.
"Half shell" refers to a style where seafood, typically clams, oysters or mussels, are served with one-half of the shell intact. This means that the mollusk is presented with its shell divided into two parts, with one side removed to expose the meat while the other side remains attached.
Green Mussels Recipe
- 2 pounds green-lipped New Zealand Mussels
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves finely minced or pressed
- 2 shallots or 1 yellow onion peeled and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup white wine, champagne, or prosecco
- ¾ cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 lemons for serving
- Defrost the mussels over night in the refrigerator. If you're pressed for time, defrost the mussels in a big bowl of cold water for about 45 minutes, changing the water every 15 minutes.
- In a 12-inch skillet or a large pot, heat oil until shimmering over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are translucent and fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add wine, chopped parsley, and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cook one minute.
- Raise heat to high; add mussels. Cover tightly, and cook, shaking the pan frequently.
- Cover tightly, and cook for 8 minutes, shaking the pan frequently.
- Remove the mussels from the liquid and place in a large serving bowl. If you used black mussels, discard any mussels that didn't open. Season broth with salt and pepper; cook one more minute. Pour broth over mussels and serve with lemon wedges.
- If you have prosecco or champagne, it can be used in place of the wine.
- To use whole mussels instead of half shell, cook the mussels in a 6 or 8-quart pot, not a skillet, so they have room to open.
- If you are on a Paleo, Whole30, or Kaufmann diet, substitute water mixed with the juice of one lemon for the wine.