Pesto Mussels & Corn Broth

Pemaquid Mussels & Pesto

With the last days of summer upon us, I wanted to celebrate both corn & tomatoes together in a dish before they disappear til next year. Growing up in Philly I was lucky enough to have Jersey Corn & Jersey Tomatoes piled high in every market & celebrated on every restaurant’s menu.  I love all types of seafood with these magical ingredients but I especially love a huge bowl of steamed Pemaquid mussels with them. While I was at the farmers market picking up my ingredients I kept getting blasted with the scent of fresh basil from the winds blowing in my face. All I could think about then was making pesto & there, at that moment, the dish was born.

Pemaquid mussels are grown sustainably using the raft & rope method on a small farm in Maine not too far from Prince Edward Island, which we all know is famous for their mussel cultivation. The cold waters along the coast of Maine keep the mussels sweet, briny, & delicious. Plus the meat inside is on average 35-50% larger than wild-grown mussels & I have happily become a huge fan of them. Bonus they are grown in America!

Special Equipment: Scale, Chef Knife, Stock Pot, Deep Frying Pan with lid, Food Processor, Microplane, Strainer
Serves: 2-4 servings

Shopping List


2 Each Corn Cobs
13 Each Garlic Cloves
5 Each Shallots
½ Cup Ginger
2 Cup Basil
¼ Cup Pinenuts
½ Cup Olive Oil
½ Cup Cherry Tomatoes
2 Each Lemon


5 Lbs Mussels


2 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
½ Cup Parmesan, grated


½ Cup White Wine

Corn Stock

yield: 2.5 Quart

3 Lbs | 1380g Mussels, de-bearded
2 Each | 460g Corn Cobs (plus some kernels)
4 Cup | 850g Water
8 Each | 40g Garlic Cloves, sliced
3 Each | 40g Shallots, sliced
½ Cup | 120g White Wine
½ Cup | 50g Ginger, sliced
1 Each Lemon

  1. Wash & de-beard the mussels & set aside.
  2. Cut corn kernels from the cobs.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of cut corn kernels.
  4. Cut corn cobs into 2 inch chunks.
  5. Peel & thinly slice garlic, ginger & shallots.
  6. Heat a large pot to medium & add neutral oil.
  7. Sauté garlic, shallot & ginger.
  8. Add corn & corn cobs to lightly sauté.
  9. Deglaze with white wine.
  10. Add mussels.
  11. Add water, stir, & cover.
  12. Cook for about 30 – 40 minutes.
  13. Strain with a fine mesh sieve / chinois.

Note: A few tips for cutting corn off the cobs 

  1. Place a towel underneath a cob that you hold upright this will stop the kernels from rolling all over the counter & onto the floor
  2. Stand & hold the cob upright in a bowl or deep sided container. When cutting all the kernels will stay contained
  3. Cut the cob in half & lay it on its side, repeat either step above with a towel or container.


  1. If you do not have a fine mesh sieve you can strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter after straining through a colander first. It will last in your fridge for 3 days & in the freezer for up to 3 months. 
  2. When buying corn choose the kind you like best either yellow, white or bi-color. All have different flavor profiles. Sweet white corn is my favorite. You want to also look for the husk to be nice a tight around the cob & not all dried out. 


yield: 2 Cup

2 Cup | 70g Basil
¼ Cup | 45g Pinenuts, toasted
1 Each | 5g Garlic Clove
½ Cup | 110g Olive Oil
½ Cup | 45g Parmesan, grated
TT Salt
TT Black Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 
  2. Lightly coat & toss pine nuts in a neutral oil & salt.
  3. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Toast for 5-7 minutes, just until the nuts are golden blonde. Gently toss the nuts halfway through baking. Set aside to cool. 
  4. Pick the leaves of basil, discarding the stems. Wash & spin your basil leaves dry.
  5. Freshly grate your Parmesan cheese. 
  6. Rough chop the garlic.
  7. In a food processor add cooled toasted pine nuts, chopped & garlic. Blend just until a paste forms. 
  8. Add in all the basil leaves, drizzle in olive oil & blend until smooth.
  9. Add cheese, pulse to just incorporate. Taste & add salt & fresh cracked black pepper to your liking. 

Pesto Spice

While creating this Mussels recipe, I accumulated a good amount of unused basil. Instead of letting it go to waste I chose to dry it out to make a dried pesto. In the mixture there’s dried sweet basil, chopped pine nuts, garlic, touch of salt, & nutritional yeast. The yeast gives a nice creamy-umami finish that you would usually find in parmesan.

How to enjoy Pesto blend:
pasta, veggies, french fries, & more

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Every month I spotlight a spice that embraces the season Join the Spice Club to get one of a kind spices shipped directly to your door.

Steamed Mussels

yield: 2-4 servings

40 Each Mussels, de-bearded
4 Each | 20g Garlic Cloves, sliced
1 ½ Each | 35g Shallots, sliced
4 Cup | Corn Stock
1 Cup | 155g Corn Kernels
½ Cup | 275g Cherry Tomatoes
2 Teaspoon Pesto
2 Tablespoon | 30g Unsalted Butter
1 Each Lemon

  1. Thinly slice shallots & garlic.
  2. If you are using large Heirloom tomatoes cut into large dice. If you have cherry tomatoes cut in half.
  3. Heat sauté pan to medium heat & coat the bottom with a neutral oil & butter.
  4. Sweat your garlic & shallots taking care not to get color on them & lightly season with salt & black pepper. 
  5. Add the 40 washed & de-bearded mussels to the pan & stir, working quickly.
  6. Add the corn & mussel stock, tomatoes & reserved corn kernels from the cobs. Lightly season with salt.
  7. Stir & cover with a lid or foil.
  8. Cook until the mussels pop open. 
  9. Just as the mussels open up, remove from the heat.
  10. Add Pesto, & stir to incorporate.
  11. Taste to adjust seasoning – add salt & black pepper if needed.
  12. Spoon into large bowls, making sure to pour the delicious broth over top & serve with warm crusty bread, lemon wedges & more pesto on the side. 

Note: When storing mussels before cooking. It is best to keep them in a perforated pan with ice on top. Do not cover with plastic wrap – your mussels need to breath. It is best to cover them with a damp kitchen towel. 

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