Mussels in White Wine

I really love mussels, but somehow I rarely order them in the restaurants. They just seem like a bad idea to order, not substantial enough for a main course and too much for an appetizer. So, with all my love for this product I don't remember the last time I ate them. I think I first tried them when I was 12 years old and visited Canada for the first time. They were exotic, different, something I've never tried and seen before in Russia. Then when I was 14 years old my dad and my grandma spent 10 days driving around in Europe and we made a very short stop in Amsterdam. I don't remember much about that city which I so want to visit again. I just remember really cute houses that reminded me of doll houses, I remember a few very long hours spent in the famous Van Gogh Museum - oh, how I want to go back there and explore that museum now when I love and appreciate that amazing artist - and I remember a dinner that we had at a small restaurant. Each of us had a huge pot of succulent, steaming mussels swimming in luscious broth. I don't think I've ever had so many mussels since then or maybe it's just the memory of a 14 year old when everything looked bigger and tasted better.

So, finally I decided to try making mussels on my own and they turned out amazing and really easy. I am sure I'll be cooking with mussels more from now on. This recipe is really great and the broth is absolutely amazing. There's a lot of broth, so you may want to reduce the amount of wine, but I think the broth is the best part in this recipe. Dunk some fresh crusty bread in the broth or serve it with some cooked pasta as the author of the recipe suggests.


recipe adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten

for about 3 medium portions

  • Mussels - 2.5 pounds
  • Butter - 2 tablespoons
  • Olive oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Onion, finely chopped - 1 medium
  • Garlic, finely chopped -  5 cloves
  • Canned plum tomatoes, chopped - 1/3 cup (2 tomatoes from a can)
  • Flat Italian parsley, finely chopped - 1/2 cup
  • Thyme, dried - 1 teaspoon
  • White buttery wine such as Chardonnay - 1 cup
  • Salt - 3/4 teaspoon
  • Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon

- Clean the mussels. Remove the "beard" and scrub them under running water with a brush to remove any sand. Discard the mussels whose shells are not tightly shut.
- In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until it's soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir a few times to keep the garlic from burning.
- Add the tomatoes, parsley, thyme, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to boil.
- Add the mussels, stir well to coat them in the sauce, cover the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat.
- Shake the pot a few times with the lid on to make sure that the mussels do not burn on the bottom.
- Pour the mussels and the broth into bowls and serve with crusty bread or over cooked pasta.
- Discard any mussels that are closed.

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Posted on August 7, 2009 and filed under Recipe.