Crazi Culture

Celebrate Your Life – Experience the World

Best Mussels? Penn Cove

penn-cove-truckby J “Kat” Loren :: Culinary experts agree on one thing – the best mussels come from Penn Cove, just offshore of the town of Coupeville on Whidbey Island, north of Seattle. Sold at Pike Place Market, most of Seattle’s finest restaurants, and around the world, Penn Cove Shellfish’s eco-friendly aquaculture produces the most tender and delectable shellfish in the Pacific NW. The secret behind the taste? The waters of the Salish Sea flow into the open cove and enables the tidal flow necessary to bring in nutrients and remove waste. Wild mussels spawn wildly from the beach and form the base of the annual crop of long strands that hang from floating docks offshore. All of nature’s work and little of man’s interference in natural processes combine to produce the most natural product possible. mussels It is sustainable aquaculture at its best. Rich nutrients feed the shellfish rather than man-made feed. There is no waste polluting cramped aquaculture pens. In fact, there are no pens as the strands hand freely in the tidal flow.

The mussels provide a sustainable source of protein at a reasonable price. penn-cove-tanks The Whidbey Island operation also stores oysters from other shellfish farms, enabling them to filter out gritty sand in pristine conditions before shipping out to local markets.

Photo by J "Kat" Loren.

Photo by J “Kat” Loren.

Locals love the mussels as well as the wildlife the docks attract in Penn Cove. It has been a favorite hangout for seals for many years.


Mussel Recipe from the historic Captain Whidbey Inn,

which sits on Penn Cove overlooking the mussel rafts.


92 Chef Ryan Houser Captain Whidbey Inn, Coupeville, WA Captains Mussels:

1 lbs. penn cove mussels (Scrubbed and purged) 1.5 oz. Whole unsalted butter .5 T. Sliced elephant Garlic 2oz. Roasted fennel 2oz. Roasted tomatoes Pinch. Fresh quatre epice .5 C. Filtered H2O

Directions: In a hot sauté pan add in the cleaned , H2O, garlic and butter. After half a minute reduce the heat by half. Allow the butter and water to melt together.

Using a spoon carefully baste every mussel and turn them once. Add in the roasted tomatoes, roasted fennel and the quatre epice Continue to carefully baste and turn the mussels until they all open.

Gently pile them into a bowl and enjoy with great company.

Prep references: Roasted tomatoes: 2 lbs. fresh tomatoes (wedged) 1oz. Hard neck garlic (minced) 1oz. Quatre Epice 4oz. Pumace olive oil ToTaste Kosher salt

Directions: Combine oil, quatre epice, garlic and salt in a bowl and gently mix together. Toss the tomato wedges in the mixture. Then evenly space all the tomatoes on a wire roasting rack lined with parchment paper and oven roast until the tomato edges dry and brown slightly. Roasted fennel: 1 Fennel bulb (sliced) 2oz. Pumace olive oil ToTaste kosher salt and ground black pepper

Directions: Combine oil and salt in a bowl and gently mix together. Toss the sliced fennel in the mixture. Then evenly space all the fennel on a wire roasting rack lined with parchment paper and oven roast until the fennel brown slightly. Quatre Epice: 1oz. Fresh oregano 1oz. Fresh chives 1oz. Fresh Thyme 1oz. Fresh parsley Directions: Wash and dry all freshly harvested herbs the chifonade.


Partial view of the Captain Whidbey Inn


  J “Kat” Loren is a Pacific NW-based journalist and author of more than a dozen books. She currently focuses on writing health, fitness, ocean conservation and travel articles.  Her blog “Crazi Culture” is a popular read among those who like eclectic topics and travelogues about odd places and adventures.


© Crazi Culture / Blue Moth Media, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to J Kat Loren & Crazi Culture with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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