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Steamed Mussels in White Wine, Garlic, Butter and Herbs

I love steamed mussels in white wine and garlic but have never even tried to make them at home. The recipes always had warnings like “remove the beard”, “scrub them if they’re dirty” and the most ominous “discard any mussels whose shells aren’t tightly shut”. It sounded way too complicated! Boy, was I wrong!

This must have been one of the easiest and quickest meals I’ve ever made. The first step it to start with really fresh mussels. I bought mine at Bear Flag Fish Company and very few had beards. That was a relief! But actually, they were easy to remove–a little tug and that was that. 

A few were already open so I discarded them, but then I later read I should have given them a quick tap–if they’re alive, they close. I keep forgetting they’re alive. At least it’s not like cooking a live lobster with all the screeching and clawing in the pot. (Re-watch Annie Hall).

Here’s all you need for a great dinner. Oh, and don’t forget the warm, crusty bread for dipping.

  • 3 lbs. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • a loaf of crusty bread

First, rinse them in cold water. I’m funny about this. I always rinse all my fish in cold water before I do anything with it. 

Put them in a large bowl with 2 quarts cold water and stir in the flour. Mix it around a few times and soak for 30 minutes. This cleans the mussels and disgorges any sand. Drain them, rinse again, then remove the beards. Remember, discard any whose shells aren’t tightly shut.

 Chop the shallot and garlic.

Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large non-aluminum pot. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes, be careful not to burn them. Add the garlic and cook 3 minutes. Add the wine, herbs, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Add the mussels to the pot, stir and cover. Reduce the heat to medium–remember you’re steaming, not boiling them. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until they’ve all opened. Discard any that don’t open. Occasionally shake the pot with the lid on to make sure they don’t burn on the bottom. 

Pour the mussels and all the sauce into a large bowl and serve with the warm bread for dipping. 

It’s ready so fast you don’t have time to worry about anything. And I must say, they were as good as any I’ve had in a restaurant!

Oh…but here’s one last warning: “Consumption of raw or undercooked shellfish may substantially increase the risk of food borne illness. ” Luckily I didn’t read that on the recipe until after I was finished eating and I’m here–healthy–writing this now.

Don’t forget to read it first at Stu News.

Categories: Fish, Main Dishes


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