I love the flavor of cooked mussels. It is the texture of cooked mussels that is bothersome. Occasionally a cooked mussel will be tender, soft, juicy and full of the sea. This is the exception. Most mussels are a bit chewy, a little ropey, and easily stuck in my teeth.
So we cook mussels for their stock. But it kills me that we couldn't better utilize the cooked mussel meat. Then I wondered if we applied the idea of smoking and drying them, as we do with scallops, would render us an intense, dried oceanic ingredient. I shot a quick note to Gerard to see if he had tried this. Remember, Gerard is who introduced us to the Sea Truffle Technique. It turns out he had. Of course he had. Fortunately, being late to the party doen't mean you can't still enjoy it.
During a recent workshop we we working within a set time period so we skipped the smoking step. We steamed open mussels with vermouth. We reserved the stock for other applications. We laid the cooked mussels out on a dehydrator tray and dried them overnight. The following morning we checked them. They were crispy. They smelled cleanly of the sea. We grated the mussels with a microplane and Moule-Sel was born. It's an amazing seasoning. Time to slow down and get a fresh batch smoked first. I can hardly wait.