Steamed mussels are an absolutely delicious little delicacy to enjoy as either an appetizer or a light meal. Prepared in a rich, flavorful garlic and white wine-infused broth, studded with diced tomatoes, plus a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and parsley, my steamed mussels recipe is a rustic treat when served with warm bread for dipping!
The Perfect Little Appetizer or Light Meal
My hubby and I cherish our weekend evenings when we can come together, leave the work week behind, and usher in a spirit of celebration over a couple of drinks, a good conversation, and some delicious morsels.
I'll often prepare an appetizer or two, or perhaps a light meal for us to enjoy. And my hubs plays the role of our bartender, pouring us a couple of glasses of wine or mixing up a couple of out-of-this-world “craft” cocktails to sip on.
For one of our most recent date nights I prepared a big, delicious pot of steamed mussels gently simmered in an abundant, butter and olive oil-infused broth of white wine and chicken stock. And my, did we enjoy every bite...
We polished off the entire pot of mussels with an accompaniment of warm bread to sop up that flavorful, piping hot broth—so tasty!
These mildly sweet and tender steamed mussels are very easy to prepare, with aromatic flecks of garlic and minced shallots, red pepper flakes for kick, finely diced tomatoes, plus a flourish of parsley for freshness.
For us, these steamed mussels were a light dinner for two, but this recipe can easily be an appetizer that serves a couple more people before a main meal.
However you'd like to enjoy them, steamed mussels are a wonderful little delicacy prepared in just a few minutes that truly makes an occasion just a little extra special. They're our new favorite Friday or Saturday “date night in” treat!
How To Steam Mussels
The beauty of cooking with mussels is that they “signal” to the one preparing them when they are done by opening up their shells—so easy and convenient!
And they only typically take between 5-7 minutes to completely steam, which means that your delicious pot of steamed mussels will be on your table, ready to be enjoyed, in right around 10 minutes from start to finish.
Steaming mussels really only requires a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven with a lid, and some aromatic ingredients to flavor both the mussels as well as the broth that they steam in.
White wine is a classic ingredient when preparing steamed mussels, and I use it here in my recipe, only in a slightly more generous amount...
I also use chicken stock (or broth) for added flavor (seafood stock is great as well), to create lots of rich broth to dip bread into. That's part of the delicious fun of enjoying steamed mussels, of course!
Here's a glance at my steamed mussels recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I debeard my mussels if needed, and make sure they are clean by rinsing them under cold water. (Typically, fish markets will clean and debeard mussels for you, but make sure to ask them.)
- Next, I lightly saute my aromatic ingredients in both butter and olive oil for just a couple minutes, then add in my mussels to coat in the fragrant mixture.
- Then, I add in the diced tomatoes, white wine, and chicken stock or broth, and cover the pot, steaming the mussels for 5-7 minutes, or until they open.
- I discard any mussels that remained closed (these are not good to eat), and then finish them with an extra drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
- To serve, I ladle them into a shallow bowl straight from the pot along with lots of the cooking liquid to sop up with bread.
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 2
Nutrition Info: 642 calories per serving
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for finishing drizzle
- 1 large shallot (or 2 smaller ones), finely minced
- 6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- Pinch or two red pepper flakes
- Black pepper
- 2 ¼ pounds black mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
- 1 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained of all juices
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock or broth
- 1 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
- Lemon wedges, to serve on the side (optional)
- Warm or toasted bread, to serve on the side for dipping
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredients list above to have them organized and ready for use.
- Place a large, heavy-bottom pot of Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add the butter and olive oil; once melted together, add the minced shallot and saute for a minute or two to soften.
- Next, add in the garlic, the red pepper flakes, and a couple of pinches of salt and black pepper, and saute just until the garlic becomes aromatic; then, add in the mussels, and gently toss to coat them in the aromatic mixture.
- Add in the diced tomatoes, the wine and the chicken stock or broth, and cover the pot with a lid. Allow the mussels to steam for 5-7 minutes, until opened, gently shaking the pot occasionally for even cooking.
- Once opened, turn the heat off and discard any unopened mussels; finish by drizzling over a little extra olive oil and sprinkling in the parsley.
- Ladle the steamed mussels straight out of the pot along with lots of extra broth/cooking liquid, and serve with optional lemon wedges on the side as well as warm or toasted bread for dipping.
Tips & Tidbits for my Steamed Mussels:
- How to clean and store mussels: While mussels are best when purchased the day you plan to cook with them, they can be purchased the day before and kept clean and cold. These days, the fish monger or market will typically already debeard and clean the mussels for you. But if not, you can debeard the mussels yourself by pulling off the little stringy bit that comes out of the side of the shell. Also, rinse and scrub (if needed) the mussels under cold tap water to clean them, and keep them in a bowl in your fridge, covered with a damp paper towel until ready to steam.
- Buy a few more mussels than needed, in case some don't open: Taking into account that there may be a couple mussels that don't open up and must be discarded, my recipe calls for 2 ¼ pounds of mussels here to make sure there's extra for just such occasion. You can even bump that to 2 ½ pounds, if you'd like!
- Tomatoes or no tomatoes: I love a bit of bright, tomato flavor with my steamed mussels, but you can leave them out without a problem if you prefer not to add them.
- White wine for flavor, or leave it out: White wine provides not only delicious flavor to the abundant broth, but also a touch of “brightness”. If you opt to leave out the wine, then simply add more chicken stock or broth, and then add a squeeze or two of lemon to bring in some brightness.
- Butter and olive oil for flavor: The combo of butter and olive oil is nice with steamed mussels, each bringing their own richness. However, feel free to us all butter or all olive oil, if you prefer.