steamed mussels
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Classic Steamed Mussels

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This recipe was the first time I had every cooked mussels. I had tried them once before at a work happy hour event and liked them, to my surprise. Rob grew up eating them, but typically doesn’t order them if we are out for dinner. I had never gotten around to making them though. Rob and I decided that we would give it a shot and they came out perfectly.

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So a few a few basics and tips first. If a mussel is open and you try to press it shut but it won’t close, throw it out! That mussel is dead and shouldn’t be eaten. Also, Ina’s trick of putting them in some water with flour to help clean them out also is a great trick that you should use.

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I was a little worried because I knew that if you overcook them they basically turn into a rubber band. The cook time is based on Ina Garten’s approach which was spot on. Rob loved how they were cooked; they had a slight pop but were overall still juicy and soft.

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I decided to go with a pretty traditional butter-wine sauce for this first attempt. The flavors just work so well and I didn’t want to get too adventurous. The benefit was that all of the sauce ingredients were already things I had on hand. Shallot, butter, garlic, white wine, and parsley were all it took; all of which are basically pantry ingredients for me.

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Interestingly, these would actually make a good starter seafood for someone. Maybe don’t let them be around before you cook them as it can be a little briny, but after? Perfection!

Classic Steamed Mussels

An easy and classic preparation of mussels that tastes great and cooks the mussels perfectly. It can be used as a great main course over pasta or as an standalone appetizer.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: butter, french, mollusk, mussels, seafood, shallot, shellfish, white wine, wine sauce
Servings: 2 People per Pound


  • 1 Lb Mussels
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine
  • 1 Shallot finely diced
  • 2 Tbs Parsley finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1/4 Tsp Red Pepper Flake
  • 1/4 Tsp Fennel Seed
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Add the flour to a bowl of cool water and add the mussels to this and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.
  • Heat the butter/oil in a dutch oven or covered saute pan over medium heat.
  • Cook the shallot first for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, red pepper flake, and fennel seed for another minute.
  • Add the wine and parsley, bring to a simmer.
  • Remove the mussels from the water and dry. 
Add the mussels to the sauce, cover, and reduce heat to low.
  • Cook for 10 minutes covered on low.
  • Uncover promptly to prevent overcooking.
  • Serve in a bowl with the sauce spooned over.

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