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Classic Steamed Mussels in White Wine Recipe


  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or white-wine vinegar (omit if your wine is very acidic)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or onions
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (omit if fresh isn’t available)
  • 4 pounds medium mussels — sorted and cleaned
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


Heat the wine, lemon juice, shallots, pepper, parsley sprigs, bay leaf, and thyme in a pot (with a lid) that’s large enough to accommodate the mussels when their shells have opened. Bring to a boil, add the mussels, and cover. Steam until the shells open (5 to 8 minutes), shaking the pan once or twice during cooking. 

With a slotted spoon, remove the opened mussels from the pot and set aside in a large bowl; keep warm. Steam any closed ones another 1 or 2 minutes to see if they’ll open. Discard any mussels that remain closed. 

Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl through a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Give the pot a quick rinse and return the strained liquid. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes to reduce and concentrate the flavor. Swirl in the cold butter to enrich the sauce, if you like. 

Divide the mussels among serving bowls and pour the sauce on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with good crusty bread.

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