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Drunken Mussels

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These delicious drunken mussels are the classic combination of fresh mussels, white wine, garlic, and butter. They're a classic French dish called Moules Marinières.

It's so easy and quick to cook mussels. There are a few important things to know about cooking them perfectly though - they're easy to overcook, so make sure to read the directions closely before starting.

Drunken mussels in a bowl with a side of toasted bread.

Why You'll Love White Wine Mussels

Mussels have a wonderful, briny flavor that pairs perfectly with crisp white wine, rich butter, and zingy shallots. They're a flavor bomb of a meal that will be popular with seafood lovers.

Drunken mussels can be made with multiple types of alcohol - it doesn't have to be just white wine, but wine doesn't overpower the flavor of the mussels.

In my experience, you don't have to be a shellfish lover to enjoy mussels. Mussels in white wine were the on-ramp (for me) to trying other types of seafood.

Black mussels, parsley, shallots, white wine, butter, garlic, lemon zest, and spices.

Ingredients You'll Need to Make Drunken Mussels

Mussels - You'll need 2 pounds of fresh mussels (1 pound per person). You can use Mediterranean mussels or blue or black mussels. You can use wild mussels or farm-raised. The farm-raised mussels often don't need to be debearded.

Butter - You'll need 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. This will be the base of your sauce and what you cook the aromatics in.

Shallots - You'll use 1 shallot for this recipe. You'll peel and finely slice it.

Garlic - You'll need 6 cloves of garlic. This is a garlic lover's recipe! I recommend finely dicing or grating the garlic.

Spices - You'll use 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper. This will add a little warmth to the sauce.

Lemon Zest - You'll use 1 teaspoon of freshly grated lemon zest in the sauce. This adds a gorgeous acidic kick and some much-needed brightness.

Wine - You'll use 2 cups of white wine. You can use whatever type you'd like but I recommend a crisp white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Parsley - You'll need 1/4 cup of chopped parsley to top the mussels after they've cooked.

Shallots, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and black pepper in a large pot.
Mussels cooking in white wine in a large pot.
Steamed mussels in white wine in a large pot.

How to Make Drunken Mussels

Clean the Mussels - Place your mussels in a colander in the sink. Clean the outside of the mussel shells with a scrub brush or a butter knife. Scrub the shells under cold water to remove any sediment. Then pull off any mussels beards (the hair-like clump of fibers sticking out of the shell) with a firm tug. Place the cleaned mussels in a bowl.

Sauté - Heat the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Once the butter is bubbling, add the shallot and garlic and let it sauté for 30 seconds. Add the red pepper flakes, black pepper, and lemon zest. Stir for 30 seconds. 

Add the Wine - Pour in the white wine. Stir then bring to a low boil. 

Cook the Mussels - Reduce the heat to low and add the mussels, stir, and cover the pot. Let steam for 1 minute.  Stir the mussels, cover the pot, and allow to cook for 2 more minutes. Watch closely to see if the shells are opening. Continue to cook for 1 to 3 minutes, until all the shells have opened. 

Garnish & Serve - Remove the pot from the heat, add the parsley, and stir to combine.  Place the mussels in two bowls and top with the remaining sauce. 

To Serve - I like serving mussels with a loaf of crusty bread. You can slice and toast some pieces or break some off into large chunks. Dip it into the sauce and eat alongside the mussel meat. You can also squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the mussels or add other types of fresh herbs like dill.

White wine mussels with garlic and shallots in a bowl.

More Great Seafood Recipes to Try

If you love fish and seafood recipes, you've got to try some of these awesome dishes!

Dipping toasted bread into a bowl of steamed mussels in white wine sauce.

Tips for Making this Recipe

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Cooking Tips - Keep an eye on your mussels while they're poaching. They can go from uncooked to overcooked in a matter of minutes! If one of your mussels doesn't open (and all the others have), discard it as these are generally assumed to be bad.

Recommended Tools - I have a little kitchen scrub brush that I use to clean vegetables and shellfish. You can buy it online.

Storing Tips - I think reheating mussels overcooks them, so I would recommend making and eating these fresh.

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Yield: 2 servings

Drunken Mussels

Drunken mussels in a bowl with a side of toasted bread.

These delicious drunken mussels are a classic French dish made with shallots, garlic, butter, and white wine.

Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • to serve - crusty bread and lemon slices

Instructions

  1. To clean your mussels - Place your mussels in a colander and scrub under running water with a scrub brush or butter knife. Pull off any beards or tags from the mussels. Place cleaned mussels in a separate bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. 
  3. Once the butter has bubbled, add the shallot and garlic and let it sauté for 30 seconds. 
  4. Add the red pepper flakes, black pepper, and lemon zest. Stir for 30 seconds. 
  5. Pour in the white wine. Stir then bring to a low boil. 
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add the mussels, stir, and cover the pot. Let steam for 1 minute. 
  7. Stir the mussels, cover the pot, and allow to cook for 2 more minutes. 
  8. Watch closely to see if the shells are opening. Continue to cook for 1 to 3 minutes, until all the shells have opened. 
  9. Remove the pot from the heat, add the parsley, and stir to combine. 
  10. Place the mussels in two bowls and top with the remaining sauce. 
  11. Serve with toasted bread and some lemon slices. 

Notes

*Keep an eye on your mussels while they're poaching. They can go from uncooked to overcooked in a matter of minutes!

*If one of your mussels doesn't open (and all the others have), discard it as these are generally assumed to be bad.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 461Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 558mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: .7gSugar: 2gProtein: 20g

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