Descriptions, sources, and eco-factors for the West's tastiest sustainable seafoods
Taste: Mediterraneans and Penn Coves are sweeter, bigger, and plumper than the more common blues.
Source: Pacific Coast, California to Alaska.
Eco factor: Like oysters and clams, mussels leave the water cleaner than they found it. Because they're relatively disease-free, they don't require treatment with antibiotics, and they're grown on ropes hanging from rafts, so they have no impact on the ocean floor.
How to choose and prepare: Select mussels that are tightly closed or that close when tapped. They should smell clean and salty, like the sea. If possible, get ones with the steel wool-like "beards" (fibers on the side of the shell) removed. Discard any with cracked shells. Give them a quick scrub under running water, pull off any beards, then cook.