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Spanish Mussels with Green Sauce

spanish mussels with green sauce

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

This is a variation on the most classic way to eat mussels: Steamed with white wine, shallot, garlic and parsley. The only differences here are that you steam the mussels separately and use a little flour to thicken the sauce.

It is a great dish to start a meal with: it’s primal, savory and a little messy. You will need lots of bread around to sop up the juices. Oh, and you’ll need at least a bottle of white wine, too, mostly for drinking.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 2 pounds mussels in their shells
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 4 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Crusty bread


  1. If you are using wild mussels, scrub the shells and pull off the beards.
  2. Pour 1 cup of salted water — boiled seawater would be ideal — into a large, wide pot with a lid. Bring it to a boil, then add the cleaned mussels. If you are using store-bought mussels, you will not need to clean them, and most come debearded.
  3. Steam the mussels open, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove the mussels and pick out the meats – or just leave them in the shells. I do a little of both. Strain the mussel broth through cheesecloth or a paper towel into a bowl. Toss the mussel meats with a little olive oil and set aside.
  5. Get the olive oil hot in a pot and saute the onion until it begins to brown, then add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
  7. Whisk in the white wine and the mussel broth and bring to a boil, stirring often. Turn it down to a simmer and let it cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Add the parsley and cook 3 minutes.
  9. Add the mussel meats and cook another 3 minutes.
  10. Pour into a bowl and let everyone attack it with forks and bread. Serve hot with white wine.

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