1. We used 1 pound fresh cleaned mussels, 1/4 cup white wine, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon butter. This preparation begins after the mussels have been cleaned and takes about 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Preheat a pan over medium heat. Once you have chopped your garlic, add a small amount of butter to your preheated pan. Stir the garlic into the butter. (You can substitute a light olive oil for butter.)
3. Cook the garlic in the pan until it becomes a tan color. Do not burn the garlic. If you do wind up overcooking the garlic, throw out both the butter and the garlic, then wipe out the pan and start over.
4. Once the garlic is tan, add the mussels. Do not add too many mussels to the pan at once. If the mussels are stacked on top of each other, the weight of the other mussels will make it more difficult for the mussels on the bottom to open. Using this method, you should only cook enough mussels to cover the bottom of the pan at one time. Toss the mussels around in the garlic butter and coat the shells with the fat. Be careful not to be too rough when tossing the mussels in the butter, as the shells are somewhat fragile and can crack and chip.
5. Once the mussels have been coated, add about 1/4 cup of wine per dozen mussels. This creates the steam required to open the shells. It will also decrease the overall heat within the pan. Cover the mussels with a lid to finish cooking.
6. After about 4 minutes, remove the lid. At this point, most if not all of the mussels will be open. Mussels, unlike clams, will open before they are cooked all of the way through. If some of your mussels have not opened, they were either not cooked long enough or they are bad and should be discarded. If most of them have not yet opened, place the cover back on the pan and wait another minute or two. Be careful not to cook mussels too long or they will become tough and grainy.
7. Remove the mussels from the pan. Pour the juices left in the saucepan into your serving plate or bowl with the mussels. The juice is delicious when sopped up with slices of fresh bread.