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Mussels with White Wine and Lemon

January 17, 2010

Why has it taken me so long to make mussels? All this time I’ve been merrily eating them out, never dreaming that they were the ultimate weeknight meal.

It’s almost impossible to go wrong: buy a bag of mussels for $3 a pound, less than a latte in coffee-crazy Brooklyn. Sautee garlic and shallots, add wine, lemon and mussels. A few minutes later, serve with a crusty baguette to sop up all the delicious sauce.

(Ok, one thing can go wrong: store the mussels in the fridge, covered with a damp cloth. If you leave them out, even on a bed of ice, they’ll quickly pop open and die little mollusk deaths.)

In the week since my epiphany, mussels have already become a staple of my post-work entertaining. Served with hot garlic bread, they make an elegant starter; over pasta, a simple and sophisticated dinner.

Mussels with White Wine and Lemon
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 6 as an appetizer, or 2-3 as a main course

1/3 cup olive oil
3 large shallots, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry white wine
3 1/4-inch-thick lemon slices
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 1/2 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed, debearded

Most mussels you buy from the supermarket are clean already; unless there’s noticeable threads on the shells, there’s no need to scrub. Fresh mussels can be stored in the refrigerator, covered with a damp cloth, for one to two days; do not store them submerged in water or they will drown.

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, crushed red pepper and salt; sauté until shallot is light brown, about 4 minutes. Add wine, lemon slices and 1/4 cup parsley; bring to boil. Add mussels. Cover pot and cook until mussel shells open, stirring once to rearrange mussels, about 4-5 minutes; discard any mussels that do not open. Serve immediately.

If serving over pasta, such as angel hair, double the ingredients for the sauce.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2010 2:25 am

    I love nothing more than a steaming pot of mussels, expecially with garlic and white wine. Btw, congratulations on winning DMBLGIT twice in a row! There’s no other way to say it, your photos are just simply stunning.

  2. January 18, 2010 9:15 am

    Oh wow, I’m not usually a fan of dark pictures but of course, you make it look amazing – those mussels really pop out! And I love that dark wood table. Gorgeous.

  3. January 18, 2010 3:35 pm

    It’s been a very long time since the last time I had mussels. Your picture and recipe brought back so many culinary memories… Oh delicious seafood :D

  4. January 19, 2010 1:21 am

    This is one of my favorite meals, especially on a hot day (which is most of them, being in South Florida). I really wish I could talk my hubby into liking mussels. I got him to like brussels sprouts, so how hard could it be?

    The most important thing about this dinner is you must have a big loaf of fresh crusty bread to sop up all that juice! Or you could just drink it straight from the bowl. Depends on who’s watching!

  5. January 21, 2010 3:10 pm

    I am not too fond of mussels, although you could probably argue that I never had any good ones yet. Love that photo though!

  6. January 21, 2010 8:55 pm

    I am the same way with most seafood – I never think to make it myself. You photograph is just perfect and I am going to give your recipe a try as soon as I can get to the fish market!

  7. January 25, 2010 8:37 pm

    This sounds way too good. I love mussels but have never attempted to cook them myself. I might have to now.

  8. ConstanceD permalink
    January 26, 2010 6:33 pm

    Could you send a link to the stuffed mushroom recipe that you so scrumptiously cooked up two weeks ago? I’m craving it daily!

  9. January 27, 2010 7:44 pm

    Your photos are STUNNINGGGGGGGG. Though I’m off mussels….

  10. January 28, 2010 5:46 am

    I’ve never made mussels at home. Think I’ll give them a try. Thanks for the inspiration. Your photo is stunning!

  11. July 26, 2010 4:53 pm

    OMG – I had never made mussels before, in fact at 42, I just found that I liked them!
    So I made them from this recipe, and added tarragon, chives and some dill (and a bit more wine;-). Wow. Thanks for the inspiration and EASY recipe.

  12. Liz permalink
    July 26, 2010 5:19 pm

    Janine – So glad you liked them! I’ll have to give them a whirl with your herbs next time.

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