Meet at the market: mussels made simple

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Each week we meet up with Katie Hershfelt of Cultivate Events as she chats with farmers, chefs and shoppers at the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers’ Market.

This week, she spoke with Chris Shemet, who sells Hope Ranch Mussels caught by fisherman Bernard Friedman, about the best, and simplest ways to cook local mussels.

Chris Shemet is passionate about mussels. Photo: Kathryn Barnes (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Mussels on the stove (for two):

  • “De-beard” the mussel – grasp the byssal thread (the hairy bit that attaches the mussel to rope, rocks, etc.) and pull it out.
  • Saute garlic in olive oil in a frying pan.
  • Add a pound of mussels and a pat of butter.
  • Put the lid on and crank it to the highest level you can until the mussels pop open.
  • Add chopped parsley and a splash of white wine.
  • Enjoy with fresh bread and a salad.

CaptureMussels on the grill:

  • Use wood, like oak, instead of propane.
  • Put mussels in a big pile.
  • Add copious amounts of garlic.
  • Put the lid down and count 15 seconds.
  • Open the lid and rotate the mussels from the bottom to the top with a spatula.
  • Add more garlic and put the lid down again, until they open up.
  • Grill your veggies on the side!

Fun fact: the white mussels are male, and the orange are female.

To check out all our past farmers market segments, head to