I don't know why it took me a year to find a local fishmonger, but I am glad I did. The plumpest, freshest mussels at the bargain basement price of $3.95/lb. Perfect for a date night dinner when the seafood hater was at a sleepover. I modified slightly a recipe from "Secrets of the Best Chefs" by Adam Roberts and served with some freshly baked bread. I only had to toss two mussels that didn't open--much less wasteful than previous Whole Foods purchases.
Mussels with Cider, Cream and Mustard
2 lb. mussels cleaned by your preferred method (Roberts recommends having them sit in a bowl of cold water with a spoonful of flour stirred in--after one hour drain and rinse)
1 bottle Angry Orchard cider
1 heaping tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 shallot, sliced thinly
1 large pattypan or other summer squash sliced ~1/4" thick
2 TBS butter
1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream
In a heavy dutch oven melt the butter over medium high heat, add shallots when butter is melted and foaming. Cook until they are just beginning to brown, then add squash. Saute until squash is just beginning to lose its rawness. Add mustard and a splash of the cider and stir until combined, then add remaining cider. Bring to a boil, adjust seasoning with salt/pepper then add mussels. Cover, checking on them in a minute or so. Remove mussels to a bowl as they open, discard any that don't open. When all mussels have been removed add the half and half and cook until sauce is slightly thickened. Pour mixture into wide bowls, serve mussels alongside with bread for dipping.
We enjoyed ours with a nice bottle of rose. Predinner cocktails were bourbon-based and served in awesome crystal glasses Ian found at an antique store for $10 a piece.