According to Recipes from the World of Tolkien by Robert Tuesley Anderson the sea doesn't feature prominently in the tales of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I guess I never really noticed. But it does make an appearance in The Return of the King when Frodo and the rest of the ring-bearers leave Grey Havens over the Sundering Sea. Anderson suggests a dish he called Grey Havens Garlicky Grilled Mussels. My recipe is much simplified, but just as garlicky!
2 pounds mussels, soaked, scrubbed, and dried
1 stick of butter, divided in half
splash of olive oil
5 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup organic heavy cream
freshly ground salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh chopped herbs (I used a mixture of parsley, tarragon, and thyme)
Place 1/2 stick of butter in a large, flat-bottom pan with a lid. Add a splash of olive oil to keep the butter from burning. Heat until the butter is completely melted and foamy.
Add in the garlic. Cook until the garlic is softened and aromatic. Deglaze the pan with wine. Once the wine begins to simmer, pour in the lemon juice, and place the mussels in a single layer in the pan and add the remaining butter. Cook for one to two minutes, then pour in the cream. Stir to combine, then cover and steam until the mussels open. Check them after five minutes. They are cooked and ready when the shells are completely open.
Remove the mussels and fold the herbs into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.