The key for this dish to be good, is to make sure that the mussels, above all, are extremely fresh. I only order mussels from fish houses that I know are busy and turn their inventory over daily. There is nothing worse than one or two bad mussels to ruin a whole pot of them. I prefer the P.E.I. or Price Edward Island Black Mussels from Nova Scotia as they are smaller than the large Green Lip mussels from New Zealand.
3 TBSP. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TBSP. chopped Shallots
1/2 TBSP. Chopped Garlic
1 Cup Clam Juice
1 1/2 Cup Dry Vermouth
4 Oz. Sweet Butter
1/4 Cup Chopped Basil & Parsley
3# Prince Edward Island Black Mussels
3# Littleneck Clams
In a large pot, over high heat cook the olive oil, garlic, shallots & vermouth. After 3 minutes, add the mussels & clams. Cover and steam over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring and shaking the pan to help pop open the clams & mussels. Check the pot after the first 2-3 minutes and discard any mussels that have not begun to open. Remember, one bad mussel can ruin the whole pot, especially the broth. Strain the broth to another saucepan and boil to reduce and concentrate the broth for 3 minutes. Add the whole butter and once it is melted, pour the broth back over the clams & mussels. Place the clams & mussels, with the broth, in a large bowl and served with some fresh rustic bread.