One of Rawle Jefferds’ favorite ways of serving mussels is to make double the amount he needs for one meal so that there are enough left over to marinate and serve as an appetizer whenever the mood strikes.

1/4 cup chopped shallots

2 cloves minced garlic or more to taste

1/4 cup butter

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon fresh chopped fresh basil or thyme

4 pounds fresh mussels, debearded and rinsed

1/2 cup dry white wine


2 cups (1 quart) cider vinegar

1 cup water

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced then cut in half

1/4 cup finely chopped green onion, white and some green parts

1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped pimento

In a big pot with a cover, sauté the shallots and garlic in the butter over medium heat until soft. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the parsley and basil, if desired, and sauté briefly until soft. Add the mussels and the wine, turn the heat up to high, and cover the pan. Steam until the shells are open and the meat is not translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the mussel broth into bowl. Discard any unopened shells. Serve immediately in large bowls and add the broth over the mussels. Eat only half. Save the rest for marinating.

To prepare the marinade: In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, water, and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the red onion, green onion, garlic and pimento. Set aside.

Remove the mussels from their cooking broth and set in a large bowl in the refrigerator to cool. You may leave the mussels in the shells. When cool, pour the marinade over the top. Drain the marinade from the bowl and pour over the mussels several times until all of the mussels are soaked with marinade. Cover the bowl and keep refrigerated until the mussels are to be eaten.

Mussels should marinate for at least 1 hour and can be kept in the marinade for up to 5 days.

Rawle Jefferds, Penn Cove Mussels