Cooking Mussels is so easy and feels like a fancy dinner. This recipe is for Mussels in a White Wine Garlic Butter Sauce with Crusty Bread and comes together in less than 20 minutes!
Why do mussels always seem like such a romantic meal to me? I know oysters are supposed to be the aphrodisiacs of the food world but there’s something I love about sharing a big bowl of mussels and glass of good wine. Of course, I’ll need the extra bread to soak up all the yummy sauce too. Ahh sweet romance. Not to mention, mussels are pretty darn to easy to make at home, making them the perfect date night in meal!
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How To Shop for Mussels
Mussels are fairly easy to cook. Finding fresh mussels in your grocery store or market can be a little more difficult. There are a few tips for choosing mussels:
- Ask the fish monger if they are fresh. Often times mussels are sold in mesh bags so it can be difficult to tell if they are fresh just by looking.
- Make sure to give them a sniff before buying. I’ve made this mistake and gone home with some stinky (and mostly bad) shellfish in the past.
- Ask the fish monger to pack your mussels on ice.
- Buy the mussels the day, and preferably no more than a few hours before, you intend to cook them. Keep the mussels refrigerated but not frozen. You definitely do not want them to get warm at all.
Once you get the mussels home, transfer them off the ice and straight into the fridge until you are ready to start cooking!
Preparing the Mussels to be Cooked
Once you are ready to start cooking, gather up and prepare all your other ingredients. Like I said earlier, you want to keep your mussels nice and chilled, so prepare everything else you can first, like mincing the garlic, etc. then start these steps.
Begin by transferring the mussels to a colander and rinse them with cold water. Scrub the debris off the shells and remove any “beards” which look kinda like seaweed. You might be able to pull these off or you might need the help of some kitchen scissors.
Discard any shells that are already open. This means that the mussel has died and is no longer good to cook with. Mussels are alive and they should close their shells when you rinse them. You might even hear them spurting some water.
Mussels can be cooked in so many ways! There are lots of varieties out there from steaming them in beer to cooking them with tomato paste and Italian herbs and so on. The simplest of methods would be just steaming them, however this might render them not as tasty.
I love mussels many ways but one of my go-to ways to cook them is in a white wine garlic butter sauce. I’m drooling just a little bit thinking about it. This recipe is so easy, it’s actually really difficult to mess it up. Plus, the sauce is so delicious and sops up easily with some toasted bread!
I make my mussels with loads of garlic and shallots for a punchy sauce that is made rich by the butter and cut by the acidity of the white wine. Don’t be shy with the salt either. You’ll want to add the full amount in the recipe so that it cooks into the actual meat. This will add flavor and help keep the mussels from getting too chewy. Also, be careful not to over the cook mussels, or they’ll be chewy no matter what. Ideally, you want the mussels to be tender and tasty.
Makes two servings
2 lbs live mussels
1 bottle of white wine
3/4 stick of butter
1 large shallot, minced
7-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
4 large, thick cut slices of sourdough or boule bread
- Rinse mussels with cold water and remove any debris.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, sauté minced shallots and garlic with butter and salt until melted and fragrant. About 1- 2 minutes on medium heat.
- Place mussels into pot and pour wine over. Let wine come to a bubble, then reduce heat to lowest setting, cover and steam for 6-8 minutes.
- Remove any mussels that are not fully opened. Squeeze lemon juice over top and then zest. Mix all together. Taste test to see if the sauce needs additional salt, add if needed. Top with parsley.
- Toast bread and serve with mussels and white wine garlic butter sauce.
See how easy that was?! I love how quick and easy mussels are to make and how elegant they feel to eat. Serve these with a glass of crisp white wine or a light pinot noir and a good sound track and you’ve got yourself a great little date night dinner!