Mussels in White Wine Sauce

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Mussels in White Wine Sauce

When purchasing mussels, be sure they smell like the ocean; they shouldn’t smell fishy. Don’t buy any shells that are cracked or open or any that refuse to close their shells when you handle or tap them; those are likely dying or already dead.


Serve with good quality crusty bread, sliced or torn into pieces for dipping.

Try to cook the mussels immediately.

  • Author: Kim Nicholson



2 pounds mussels, scrubbed clean under running water

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

1/4 tsp crushed red chile flakes

Two tablespoons butter

1/4 cup minced shallots

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)

Two teaspoons flour (optional, omit for gluten-free version)

1/4 cup minced parsley


Clean and prep mussels. Put the mussels in a bowl of salted water (1 tbsp salt per quart of water) for 10-15 minutes.

Throw out any open or refuse to close when you handle them.

If any still have their beards (long hairy byssal threads which help anchor the mussel to surfaces), pull them out, pulling slowly and firmly towards the shell’s hinge.

Put wine and mussels in the bottom of a large pot, and steam until the mussels open.

Put 1 1/2 cups of dry white wine in the bottom of that large pot (at least a 4 quart).

Add mussels to the pot.

Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.

As the mussels cook, they release their highly flavored water into the pot.

Cook until shells have opened and the mussels are just cooked, looking steamed and soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Take care not to overcook, or the mussels will be rubbery and stiff.

Remove cooked mussels, and save the cooking liquid. Once the mussels are cooked, carefully remove them from the pot to a bowl, one by one, using tongs, including those that have broken loose from their shells.

Let the water in the pot settle for a minute. Any grit will sink to the bottom.

Gently pour the cooking water into a measuring cup, leaving the grit in the pot to discard later.

Saute shallots and garlic in butter and flour. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the shallot and cook for a couple of minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. If you want your sauce to be a little thick, add a teaspoon or two of our to the pan and stir to combine.

Add mussel cooking water to create a sauce, and slowly add about a cup of the filtered mussel cooking water to the saucepan, stirring to make a smooth sauce.

Add the minced parsley to the sauce.

Pour sauce over mussels to serve.

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"Hello, Franklin!"

Hello Franklin, the newest children's book from Kim Nicholson, is on a mission to help children understand the importance of insects and the natural world.