Mussels for a Weakling

I mean, I'm not THAT weak. Although I was never able to pull myself up on the handlebars in gym class. 

Water in the glass, wine right from the bottle. Hashtag classy feels appropriate.

Water in the glass, wine right from the bottle. Hashtag classy feels appropriate.

Mussels! A restaurant-quality dish that you don't have to spend 1 spend a lot of money at a restaurant and 2 can make pretty quickly at home. There are all sorts of fun recipes for mussels - fra diavolo, in a cream sauce, in beer (not for us!) - but my favorite is just some simple mussels in a white wine sauce. Not only does this save us from having to use a cart at the grocery store, so we don't have to fight other pushy people in a cart battle-to-the-death/checkout lane, but it means we have some leftover wine that you must drink from the bottle. Don't waste a glass!

Serves: 4 

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 4 lb mussels (1 lb per person)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups dry white wine for recipe
  • Remaining dry white wine for you (and a guest or two if you're feeling generous)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 diced or minced shallots (dependent on how lazy you are)
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • Black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (I use a little sprinkle, use what you can handle!
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (gluten free) or water

As you may have noticed, the ingredients are a lot of "a little bit of this, a little bit of that" so I highly recommend jamming to this as you gather them. For the Monica, Erica and Ritas  that make your mussels so great.



  1. Scrub and debeard mussels. This is honestly the most work you'll have to do. While debearding the mussels, I highly recommend using something stronger than your two fingers to try to pull that hanging string out - maybe a paper towel between your pointer finger and thumb? I'm really open to suggestions here so please comment with what you do! Discard any broken or lousy looking mussels.
  2. Add butter and olive oil to a large pot and turn on medium.
  3. Once butter and olive oil have melted a bit, add red pepper flakes, lemon zest and shallots until fragrant, about a minute or two. Add onions and cook, another 5 or so minutes, stirring throughout.
  4. Add wine (minding the potential for a splash near your moneymaker [face]!), stock/water and mussels, then cover your pot and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. With both hands (and potholders!), hold either end of your pot and attempt to give a shake in one fluid motion. This is a bit trickier than it seems, since you don't want to shake too hard and break any shells, but you do want to try to cook everything evenly. Practice in front of the mirror if you'd like, but this seems to be a skill acquired only through true practice. So I hope you like eating mussels every day kids. Cook for another five minutes or until almost all shells are open.
  6. Serve mussels in bowls with parsley on top and black pepper, discarding any broken shells or mussels that didn't open (shame on them). Enjoy with some g-free bread and all that wine you didn't use for your recipe. Honestly I am such a fan of mussel broth I could eat it with a spoon, so if that's what you resort to you're my kind of friend.