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Steamed Mussels in Garlic Sauce

Garlicky steamed mussels with crusty garlic bread .. a super-easy, impressive dinner solution for the impromptu fancy dinner party host or exhausted gourmet who needs to put together a delicious, sophisticated meal in under 30 minutes.
Prep Time7 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer
Servings: 2 people



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 garlic clove minced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb chopped
  • 14.5 ounces diced canned tomatoes
  • ½ cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
  • 24 ounces clam juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds mussels in shells
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons butter unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley as a garnish

Crusty Garlic Bread

  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 loaf crusty Italian bread
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Rinse and prepare the mussels

  • Place the mussels in a colander and rinse under cold, running water.
  • Remove the beards (hairy clumps around the shell) with a sharp knife or pull off with your fingers. Discard any open mussels and broken mussel shells.
  • Scrub the mussels with a vegetable brush. Rinse

Prepare the broth

  • Add olive oil to a large stock pot on medium heat. .
  • When the oil is hot, add the garlic, fennel and onion and saute until transparent - about 5 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and wine and simmer until the alcohol from the wine evaporates - about 3-4 minutes. Add clam juice, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer.

Steam the mussels

  • Add the mussels to the broth and cover the pot.
  • Allow the mussels to steam for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the the shells open. Lower the heat to medium low to keep the broth at a simmer. Discard mussels that do not open.

Finish the broth and serve

  • Add the butter, mustard and lemon juice. Remove the pot lid and reduce the broth by about a fifth to intensify the flavor. The broth should have a distinctly sweet mussel flavor when done. Add more salt if needed.
  • Using a slotted spoon transfer mussels to individual bowls. Pour some broth over mussels and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley. Serve with crusty, garlic butter bread and dry white wine.

Crusty Garlic Bread

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a microwave, melt butter about 20 seconds. Add oil, minced garlic
  • Cut the loaf lengthwise and place on a baking sheet. Using a basting brush, brush the bread generously with the garlic infused butter.
  • Place the basted bread with the baking sheet on the bottom of the over and bake for about 10 minutes. Heat under the broiler for a about 1 minute for a crusty finish.
  • Remove from heat and sprinkle with parsley. Cut the bread into 2 inch wide slices and serve with mussels.

Wine Pairing

  • Dry citrusy Sauvignon Blanc with no oak or fruity flavors which can overpower the delicate flavor of the mussels.


Avoid oaky and sweeter wines : Oaky wines can become bitter during the cooking process while sweeter whites may caramelize when exposed to heat adding unnecessary sweetness.