Easy Spicy Garlic Buttered Tahong

Spicy Buttered Tahong with Garlic
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Well helllooo there fellow parents and caregivers! It’s me, your favorite mom blogger April from relaxlangmom.com. I know a lot of you out there have been feeling a bit uneasy lately with all the chaos in the world. So today I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes to help soothe the soul – Easy Spicy Garlic Buttered Tahong!

Tahong or mussels are not a regular thing in our house. It is not grown locally and we have to import them from the main islands. So we love them when we get them. For some reason, they taste very homey, and because of their mild  “ocean” flavor, it makes an excellent addition to many dishes. On their own, they are delicious and pairs well with a bottle or two of cold beer. It’s an excellent ulam idea when days are gloomy.

Tahong, or saltwater mussels, are a cheap and delicious source of protein. But let me tell you, eating them can be messy! That’s why I came up with this simple prep method that lets all the garlic and butter flavors soak right into the nooks and crannies of those tiny shells. It’s comfort food at its finest.

Let me start with live mussels. Scrub them well under running water, discarding any that are already open or broken. Soak in salt water for 30 minutes to filter out sand.

For the tahong or mussels, scrape away any barnacles or encrustations on the shells using a knife. Rinse well under cool water.

To clean the interior, place the shells in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Add 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

The acidity will cause the mussels / tahong to release their hold on any grit or sediments inside. You’ll see the shells open slightly as this happens.

Discard any shells that remain firmly shut.

The key to having great tasting tahong is using just a few powerful ingredients you likely already have on hand. First up, a whole bulb of garlic – because as we all know, garlic is nature’s band-aid for what ails ya! Next, a stick of butter to add unctuous creaminess. A splash of soy sauce gives it an umami boost. And a sprinkling of dried red pepper flakes provides a gentle heat to take the edge off stressful days.

To put it together, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Mince the garlic as finely as your patience will allow and add it to the bubbling butter. Let it sizzle away for a few minutes until fragrant. Then toss in your cleaned tahong and a splash of liquid seasong. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mussels have opened wide. Finish with a pinch of red pepper flakes.

That’s it! Serve them piled high in a big bowl with crusty bread to soak up every last drop. The kids will love using the shells as pretend megaphones while you relax to the musical sounds of shells popping open. And cleanup is a breeze since the empty shells can just go to the garbage or garden if you’re using it to “calciumize” your garden..

I cooked this buttered tahong before lunch but it was actually gone before we had lunch. I toasted some bread and dipping it on the sauce was such a happy thing for my endorphins.

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