I just returned from an amazing trip to Prince Edward Island (my first in several years) and the soles of my feet are still dyed from the Island’s ruby shores. PEI is a land of unspeakable beauty; littered with breathtaking beaches, endless skies and rolling fields as far as the eye can see. The quaint kitschiness of island architecture evokes a kind of nostalgia and child-like innocence. It is a province built for an urban tourist eager to enjoy a taste of rural life.
PEI is not often considered a culinary destination; as it does not bring the same level of refinement to the dining experience as say Montreal or Toronto. PEI, like Finland, is all about foods in the raw. You come to sample the bounty of their hugely successful agricultural industry. In PEI you savor edible items that require minimal preparation yet deliver maximum flavor. Fresh produce, organic jams and honeys, rustic cheeses and some of the best seafood you’ll find anywhere.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to dine in some of the best restaurants this country has to offer, you have probably spotted PEI mussels on more than a few menus. PEI mussels account for more than 80% of this country’s mussel production. PEI’s nutrient-rich waters provide the ideal environment for the blue mussel. They consistently produce mussels of superior flavor and quality that revivals competitors across the globe.
So, now that you have these tasty morsels, you might wonder what the heck to do with them. The answer? As little as possible. Grab the most aromatic ingredients you can find, bring them to a boil at the bottom of a large stockpot and steam your mussels. Easy peasy! I went slightly Thai in my version, but Mediterranean cuisine is loaded with flavors that are wonderfully complementary to these luscious amber tidbits. You can either pour the remaining steaming liquid over the cooked mussels or you can reserve it and add it to your next seafood chowder. I almost always choose the latter.
So go ahead and enjoy some of the best seafood the East Coast of Canada has to offer. Pick up a bag of PEI mussels today!