Mussels, or tahong, are one of the most common kinds of shellfish in the country. It's a rich source of protein, iron, and iodine; it's available all year-round, and best of all, it’s also very delicious. Here's how to prepare them for cooking:

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  • Don’t forget to check the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources' red tide alerts so you know when it’s safe (and when it’s not!) to consume tahong as well as other kinds of shellfish.
  • Choose mussels with tightly closed shells or that close when lightly tapped. Discard those that won't open, remain open, or have cracked shells.
  • Remove any barnacles stuck to their shells and then, using pliers, remove the beards. Rinse the mussels under running water.

Savor this marine delicacy with the recipe below!

Mussel, Clam and Fish Soup
Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Makes four to six servings

Ingredients:
1/4 kilo fresh mussels, scrubbed, and debearded
1/4 kilo fresh clams, scrubbed
3 1/2 cups fish broth
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup cream
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 kilo white flesh fish fillet
A handful each of fresh dill and parsley, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and black pepper

Procedure:
1. Put medium-sized stock pot over high heat. Throw in the mussels, and keep the pan covered until the shells open. Pour it through a strainer, reserving the liquid. Do the same for the clams. Tip the juices through a fine sieve to remove any remaining impurities.
2. Remove the clam and mussel meat from their shells, leaving a few as garnish.
3. Pour the juices into a clean pan over medium heat. Add the fish stock and paprika. Simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream.
4. In another pan, heat the butter and stir in the flour under low heat for 2 minutes.
5. Mix the stock and cream mixture in with the butter and flour mixture. Add the fish and simmer for five minutes. Add the mussels, clams, parsley, dill, and lemon juice and simmer for five more minutes. Serve while hot.

(Photo by Ocs Alvarez. Food Styling by Vanna C. Severino. Recipe by Maricel D. Abad.)

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