I love this version of French Mussel steamed in white wine. White, butter, cream, baguette, what's not to love? This is a large mussels recipe that feeds 4 for dinner comfortably, or enjoy it as an appetizer.
I first learnt how to make this Steamed Mussels in white wine with a creamy sauce when I worked in restaurants in my early twenties. Mussels are part of the clam family and are found in fresh or salt water. They can be steamed, boiled, bbq'd, roasted or fried. We only eat mussels that open up after cooking. There is some debate as to whether or not they are dangerous to eat if unopened, better safe than sorry I say!
I never grew up eating mussels, it wasn't part of our diet. Mum seemed to view all sea creatures as worms. Shrimp, clam chowder, steamed mussels, it made no difference to her! I tried to get her to taste my Salt and Pepper Shrimp, and the faces she made, it was quite funny. It wasn't till I was in my early twenties that I fell in love with mussels. It's really because of the amazing mussel dishes in the restaurants I worked at that got me hooked.
How to clean Mussels
Most mussels sold in stores are already prepped for cooking, but I find they usually need a bit more. They should be clean from barnacles, seaweed and debearded. You want to rinse the mussels before using to start.
The most important thing is to clean and pull out the beards from the mussels. The beard is pieces of natural mussel threads that the mussel grows to attach themselves to rocks. While edible, they aren't nice to eat. To remove them, grab them with a paper towel or cloth, grip firmly and yank them out. If you don't remove the beards, you will end up chewing them and eventually spitting them out. Like I said, not nice to eat! You can also use a brush to clean any barnacles from the mussels before cooking.
How to Eat Steamed Mussels
Steamed Mussels are easy to make and very delicious! This isn't the type of meal that you eat with a knife and fork, you're gonna have to use your fingers. I always hold the in one hand, open it wide and use a fork to scoop out the mussel. Place the empty shell on a separate plate. I have at times even removed all the mussels from the shells, leaving the meat in the creamy sauce. This allowed me to eat all the mussels at once with the crusty bread pieces.
Some restaurants serve mussels as an Appetizer, but I love eating Mussels in a Creamy White Wine Sauce as a main meal. Mussels are often served in skillet type meals, in seafood pasta, or in broths.
How to Steam Mussels in White Wine
This is such an easy recipe to make, it just sounds a bit fancy. The hardest part is cleaning your mussels, but we already covered that! Fry the onions in a pot all the mussels will fit into. No need to wash extra pots. Caramelized onions add so much flavor! When the onions and mushrooms are cooked, add wine, spices and mussels and close with a lid. When it starts to steam, shake the pan to flip the mussels around inside the pot. That's it. So easy. After this just add the cream. Just be careful not to overcook the mussels, otherwise they will be too tough.
What Type of Wine Do I Use For Steamed Mussels?
You need to use a dry white wine when cooking. This is pretty much universal when cooking. This might be controversial, but you never need to cook with an expensive white wine when steaming mussels. Use white wine that you normally drink, or just buy a cheap one! Fancy people say it matters how expensive your wine is when you cook, I disagree. All the notes and flavors of wine are cooked out when mixed with the mussels, garlic and onions. Don't waste your money on the fancy stuff, save it for drinking.
How Many People Does This Feed?
This is a pretty large recipe, good for a mussel dinner. I say this recipe is enough for 6-8 people if you're serving as an appetizer. I figure ½ pound of mussels per person. If you are making this for dinner, then 4 people should be absolutely stuffed. 1 pound of Mussels per person is pretty reasonable I believe. I suppose it depends on how much you eat!
You could halve the recipe if enjoying them as smaller appetizers for less people. In the video, we at this as a meal with fresh baked french bread (baguettes).
Steamed Mussels Variations
- add fresh thyme into the wine sauce
- serve with fresh lemon, or squeeze lemons when cooking
- to make Japanese inspired Mussels, instead of wine use vegetable stock and sake, saute ginger, chili, onion and extra garlic, instead of cream, use Miso paste, a splash of fish sauce and sesame oil
- instead of cream, add a can of diced tomatoes with fresh basil and oregano for Italian Mussels
- only cook mussels that are alive and closed. Cook right away after cleaning, as they are only alive for a short while after removing the beards
- don't overcook the mussels, check at at the 5-6 minute mark of steaming
- throw away any unopened shells before serving
- buy fresh mussels, should have a light ocean smell, not too fishy
I love this Mussels recipe, simple and easy to make, and most importantly, delicious! Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- 4 lbs /2kg mussels
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ lb /250g mushrooms sliced
- 1 ½ cups of white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- black pepper to taste
- ⅔ cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley garnish
- Rinse and clean the mussels so they are beard free.
- If a large saucepan, add butter and oil over medium-high heat and fry the onions, garlic and mushrooms.
- When the onions become translucent about 5 minutes, mix in white wine, bay leaf, turmeric and stir. Add the mussels. Cover with lid and cook over medium-high heat.
- When it starts to steam, shake the pan (with the lid closed), so the mussels move around the pot until they are cooking (for about 5- 8 minutes) Don't overcook the mussels as they will be tough.
- Remove the opened mussels and set aside, discarding any unopened ones.
- To make the creamy sauce, add whipping cream to the white wine mixture and heat again, but don't allow to boil. Taste before adding salt. Season with black pepper to taste.
- Pour creamy white wine sauce over the mussels and serve immediately with a crusty baguette.