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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Steamed Mussels in White Wine

An appetizer should be just enough to whet or stimulate the appetite, a light  introduction to the rest of the meal. Uncomplicated and delicious describes this recipe for Steamed Mussels in White Wine.

Last week eight pounds of P.E.I. blue mussels made their way into two large pots and steamed away in white wine, shallots, garlic and butter.  A short five minutes was all the time it took for these mussels to open and release their fragrant juices.

These are great served family style in large bowls along with plenty of crisp garlic bread to soak up the delicious broth.

This appetizer keeps guests engaged in conversation as well as focused on fishing out the mussel meat from the shells not even missing the host who has discretely left the table preparing to serve the next course.

Fresh mussels are a must for this recipe and any other seafood recipe for that matter, there shouldn’t be any question about the smell.  If you have to do a double take to check the freshness you were probably right the first time and they’re most likely ready for the compost.

The rule of thumb is about one pound of mussels per person and although this might seem a lot to serve as an appetizer remember that most of the weight is in the shells. On this note remember to place a couple of empty bowls in the center of the table for the empties which might get in the way of the garlic bread trying to mop up those juices.

Since retrieving the sweet morsels from their shells can work up an appetite and no one in reality eats one pound of mussels this creates anticipation and plenty of room for a delicious entrée!

Steamed Mussels in White Wine
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 pounds fresh mussels washed and debearded
½ cup fresh, chopped flat leaf parsley cup minced
¼ cup minced shallots or chopped green onion
  1. Wash mussels under cold running water, pull off beards that protrude from sides of mussels.
  2. Discard any broken or opened mussels that will not close when tapped.
  3. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  4. Add garlic, shallots or onions, pepper flakes and lemon zest stir and let sizzle until garlic begins to brown.
  5. Add white wine and bring to a boil.
  6. Add mussels and place cover on pot.
  7. Steam about 5 minutes until mussels open.
  8. Remove from heat ,do not overcook as they will become rubbery.
  9. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
  10. Transfer to a large bowl and pour juice over mussels.
  11. Serve with lemon wedges and garlic bread.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • A dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc works well.
  • Stuffed Mussels are also delicious.
  • Whatever you do don't overcook these mussels, once they've opened they're done!
  • Although some mussels come in 2 pound netted bags they can also be purchased by the pound in exactly the amount you need.
  • Mussels are great served family style but can also be served in individual bowls
Just another way of doing things...
I've made mussels using the same ingredients listed above, olive oil being the only extra ingredient.  They both turn out great.
  1. Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot, add shallots/onions, pepper flakes,, lemon zest and garlic, sautee until garlic softens and is lightly browned.
  2. Add mussels and cook for 1 minute, add the wine, cover and steam for about 5 minutes or until mussels have opened.
  3. Remove from heat and with a slotted spoon transfer the mussels into a bowl discarding any that have not opened.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and parsley to the pot and swirl around until butter melts.
  5. Slowly pour the broth over the mussels, serve.


  1. I missed you when you left the table but I was enjoying the mussels too much to go see where you were - lol
    they were so delicious and this coming from someone who never liked mussels, since having yours, 2 different ways my opinion on mussels had changed.

    1. How nice to know that I was missed!
      Honestly, this recipe can make a mussel lover out of anyone!