Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mussels Steamed in Chardonnay

I love this meal. I love it because it tastes great. I love it because it is insanely easy to make. With prep and cooking time, this delectable meal will clock in under 15 minutes. And this meal will always remind me of Paris.

In 2007 we took a family vacation to Europe. We explored London and Paris and had a great time. On the last day of our vacation, we were all burned out from the museums and points of interest. We found a little outdoor cafe on the Champs-Elysees, just down the street from the Arc de Triomphe. For two hours we sat and watched the people of Paris walk by. We ate a lunch of mussels steamed in white wine and washed it down with multiple glasses of a fantastic French Chardonnay. It was such a perfect way to spend a sunny, August afternoon and that day will always be burned in my memory.

The key to making this dish impeccable (because, truth be told, it is almost impossible to screw this up) is to get really fresh mussels. My favorite place to buy mussels is Costco. They stock up on them each weekend. The mussels are big, fresh and Costco sells them for an insanely low price of $1.98 a pound. They sell them in packages that typically range from four to six pounds, which is the perfect amount for four to six people.

There is one mandatory part of this recipe that you absolutely cannot leave out. You must serve this dish with slices of freshly baked French bread. If you do pick up your mussels at Costco, slide over to the bakery, where you will find a two-pack of French baguettes for just $4.99. These turn over so fast at Costco, that I always find the package is warm, having come straight from their in-store ovens. The broth from this recipe is so rich, so incredibly delicious, that you must dip your French bread repeatedly in order not to waste a single, solitary drop of it.

2 cups of Chardonnay
1/2 cup minced shallots
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
1 bay leaf
4 pounds mussels
4 tablespoons butter
1 or 2 loaves of French bread


  1. Bring wine, shallots, garlic, parsley, and bay leaf to simmer in large pot; continue to simmer to blend flavors, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add mussels; cover and cook, stirring twice, until mussels open, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Remove mussels from liquid and place in individual serving bowls (roughly 12 per person). Discard any mussels that did not open. Swirl butter into pan liquid to make emulsified broth. When butter is melted, pour broth over mussels and serve immediately with French bread.,

Wine pairing: A nice, oaky French Chardonnay

1 comment:

  1. Great recipe. We do this on New Year's Day for the football marathon. Typically my Badgers are playing, so it's a family affair.

    I add a good pinch of red pepper flake for some heat.