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It's the simplest thing on the planet, and is probably my favorite preparation, even in restaurants. Be sure the mussels are immaculately scrubbed and freed of their scraggly, Rip Van Winkle beards.

Some prefer to steam in *beer* instead of wine, which would give the mussels a deeper, heartier flavor. Replacing the wine with *Pernod* gives them an anise-y twist, especially when the parsley is likewise replaced with ***tarragon***. For a little tartness, add a couple of teaspoons of >>tomato paste>> to the wine before adding the mussels, then throw in a few tablespoons of chopped, seeded >>>tomato>>> at the end with the parsley. The sourness of the tomato actually helps cut through the richness of the mussels. No matter what flavorings you use, the only way to ruin mussels is by overcooking. Remember, as soon as the shells are opened, they're done.


  • 1 large, chopped shallot
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 c. dry white wine *
  • >>2 tsp. tomato paste>>
  • 3 lbs. cleaned mussels
  • handful of chopped, fresh parsley ***
  • ***tarragon***
  • >>>2 T. chopped, seeded tomato>>>
  • lemon wedges for garnish


  • In a large pot over medium heat, saute shallot in olive oil, until translucent.
  • Add wine* (>>tomato paste>>) and 3 lbs. cleaned mussels, and bring to a boil.
  • Cover pot, shaking occasionally, until mussels are fully cooked and shells are opened, about 5 minutes.
  • Discard any that remain closed.
  • Add a handful of chopped, fresh parsley***(taragon*** or tomato>>>). Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with lemon wedges.

Categories: Appetizer  Shellfish 
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