I firmly believe there are few meals as delightful as ones made with fresh seafood. I also firmly believe there we few meals as dreadful as those made with bad seafood. IFSir Issac Newton had been a chef, his. 3rd Law may have sounded a little more like this, “for every great seafood dish there is an equally opposite gross seafood dish”. These Keto Chili Mussels we the former, but if you eat enough seafood you are bound to experience both.
My most memorable experience with truly disgusting seafood occurred a few years ago. Lauren and I had made plans for a romantic weekend trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina for our wedding anniversary. We had the perfect weekend planned, our accommodations were literally only feet away from the ocean. We had packed our large oven along in order to prepare a massive and hopefully delicious seafood boil. About 20 minutes before we were slated to arrive we stopped at a roadside stand selling “Fresh Caught seafood”, and I packed our haul of shrimp, crab, and mussels into the cooler in the back seat. This is when it all starts going downhill.
An Atlantic hurricane was bearing down on the South Carolina shoreline and we were urged to evacuate. Not wanting to end up as a cautionary take on the news, we headed inland and started messaging Airbnb hosts. We spent a total of 3 hours searching and finally driving to one that had vacancy and was far enough away from the path at the storm. I’m not sure if the cooler completely failed at keeping the seafood cold or if it was bad to begun with, but as I opened it up in the Airbnb’s kitchen the smell was nauseating and reminded me of a bait shop in July. We rinsed everything off and the smell died down, or maybe we just got used to it. Anyway we moved ever thing to the dutch oven and added the rest of the ingredients for our feast. After sitting atop the worlds least effective stone for two hours we ladled out the deliciousness, we were starving by this point (All we had had since lunch was a both of champagne). The First bite was unpleasant, to say the least, then I bit into a shrimp and newly gagged. It was disgusting, and to top it at off that was the night our pet sitter called and quit, because our epileptic cat was too hateful and she couldn’t wrangler her without being clawed to give her medicine. Finally we went up to our room with a bottle of wine (each) and called at a night.
Oh how I wish we had these mussels that night, the spiciness of the peppers paired so perfectly with the brininess of the mussels. It actually took me a while to get up the nerve to eat mussels again after that meal, so if you are recovering from a bad experience with seafood, this could be the perfect recipe to get back on the saddle. Just be sure to buy yours from a reputable source, and prioritize freshness.
Mussels are a nutritional powerhouse so I’ve linked to a few articles breaking down the excellent health benefits linked to consuming mussels.