There are some foods I almost never order in restaurants.  Chicken is the main one.  Why pay someone else to prepare something I could make easily at home?  (Not to mention homemade is usually better.)  There are other dishes, though, that I tend to reserve for restaurants because I imagine them too complicated to make at home.  Mussels was one of those dishes.  But no longer.

I recently received a copy of America’s Test Kitchen’s Cooking School Cookbook, and came across this recipe while browsing through the pages.  (For my review of this cookbook and your chance to win a free copy, head over to the giveaway page!  Let me also just say here that if you need a last minute gift for anyone you know who loves cooking or wants to love cooking, I think this book would be an excellent idea.)  I figured I have a few days off work, now is as good a time as any to try my hand at making mussels at home.

As it turns out, this really  could not be easier.  Essentially you combine the wine and other seasonings in a pot, bring to a simmer, add the mussels and cook until they open.  That’s it.  And it’s totally knock your socks off delicious.  Ben and I both agreed these were far better than any mussels we have tried in a restaurant…so I suppose these are now on the “no need to order” list right alongside chicken.  This is one of those wonderful recipes that seems fancy and complicated but requires so little effort, making it perfect for entertaining.  If I hadn’t already bought ingredients for our Christmas Eve dinner, I would totally be making this again. Maybe we will have it for New Year’s instead.

I hope you all have a lovely holiday filled with love, laughter, and lots of good food!

  • Yield 4 servings


  • 2 cups white wine
  • ½ cup minced shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. roasted red pepper flakes
  • 4 lbs. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt and pepper


  • 01

    In a Dutch oven or large stockpot over medium heat, combine the white wine, shallots, garlic, parsley, bay leaf and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a simmer and let simmer about 3 minutes to blend the flavors.

  • 02

    Increase the heat to high and add in the mussels. Cover and cook, stirring twice, until the mussels open, 4-8 minutes.

  • 03

    Use a skimmer or a slotted spoon to remove the mussels to a serving bowl. Add the butter to the pan with the white wine and whisk in until fully melted.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.  Pour the sauce over the mussels and serve alongside crusty bread for dipping in the excess sauce.