Mussels with Saffron and Mustard/Most Delicious White Wine Sauce ever


I know mussels aren’t for everyone, but this recipe is really about the sauce. For the vegetarians or those who simply wouldn’t cook mussels anyways, this white wine sauce is delicious. With maybe some wedges of lemon and some thin spaghetti/cappellini with a mountain of parmesan or as a sauce to some steamed broccoli, it is SO good. Honestly, if a recipe has 12 tbl of butter it has to be good … or SOOO devilishly bad…

As I post this recipe, I would have to admit that I have an exam tomorrow and I am absolutely procrastinating, so this blog lives up to its name! šŸ™‚

There are some things I am scared to cook or bake. Angel food cake. Pie crusts. And mussels. They are usually very expensive at restaurants about $12-15 for an appetizer while at the supermarket they sell for about $4 a pound so I had to conquer my fear! So I went to a chef that I love, Thomas Keller. His book Bouchon had the perfect recipe, this with a loaf of french bread to drink up all the wonderful broth. It should simply be sliced, toasted, with olive oil, salt, pepper at 375 for 7 min and is heaven. And I am so glad I took the plunge, because these are simply so easy and so delicious!

For this recipe, Thomas Keller is a perfectionist, but his outline of ingredients and method are much more important that exact ratios. I will post his original recipe, but I think some substitutions are useful. I definitely think that the saffron and parsley are not absolutely needed, but if you can get it, it is absolutely worth it. Also, paring the butter down to just a couple tablespoons are very do-able, but the richness of 12 tbl of butter must be amazing. I admit I used 8 tbl and still felt a teeny bit guilty. Make sure to de-beard the mussles, mucho importante! Try to use the best dijon mustard you can find, a brand like Grey Poupon is great, just not the bright neon yellow stuff if you can help it.

12 tbl unsalted butter (I used about 1 stick – 8 tbl and it was still decadent)
1/2 cup minced shallots (could also use white/yellow onions if shallots unavailable)
24 cloves garlic confit (I used 3-4 cloves garlic minced)
1 tbl minced thyme (fresh) or 2 tsp dried
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper (black pepper if not available)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 cups dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
4 pinches saffron threads
4 pounds small mussles, preferably bouchot
1/4 cup plus 2 tbl minced Italian parsley
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, salt, and white pepper, reduce the heat to low, and cook gently for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the mustard and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a minute or two, then add ethe saffron, voer the pot, and remove from the heat. Let the broth steep for at least 5 minutes. (The broth can be allowed to sit for a few hours at room temperature).

2. Rinse the mussels under cold water, crub them if necessary to clean them. Pull off and discard the beards.

3. Bring the broth to a simmer over high heat. Add the mussels and stir to combine. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the mussels have opened (My mussels took several minutes longer to open completely).

4. Toss the mussels with the parsley and a few grindings of black pepper. Serve immediately in large shallow bowls, with some crusty bread.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s