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
- If you are using wild mussels, scrub the shells and pull off the beards.
- 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.
- Steam the mussels open, about 3-5 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- 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.
- Add the parsley and cook 3 minutes.
- Add the mussel meats and cook another 3 minutes.
- Pour into a bowl and let everyone attack it with forks and bread. Serve hot with white wine.