I love mussels as an appetizer or main dish – they are so versatile, quick to prepare, and make an impressive presentation. This particular recipe uses white wine to give flavor to the sauce – great to be tossed with pasta or soaked up with some good Italian bread.

Mussels are a great shellfish to prepare for the beginner cook because they have a depth of flavor to them but aren’t costly and are easy to prepare – no shucking, they’ll open on their own as soon as the steam sets in on them.

To prepare your mussels after you’ve brought them home from the store, immediately transfer them to a large bowl. Use this trick from the Barefoot Contessa to help pull the dirt out from the shells – add about tablespoon or two of flour to the top of the mussels, and then fill the bowl with water so the mussels are covered, giving a stir to help the flour disintegrate. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them. They are best if made the same day, but can stay up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Mussels with White Wine

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 lbs fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Salt, to taste
  • Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
  • Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley leaves, for garnish


  1. Heat a large dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat, about 2 minutes. Add extra virgin olive oil and heat for 2 minutes more, until oil thins and can be swirled around the bottom of the pot easily.
  2. Add red pepper flakes (these are spicy – so add as much as you can handle here) and garlic, and saute until the garlic is fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add diced onion and toss with the garlic and red pepper flakes. Add a pinch of salt, and continue to cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the butter and let melt.
  4. Pour white wine into the pot and stir to combine. Allow the wine to reduce by half – about 10 minutes.
  5. Add in mussels. Cover the pot and allow the mussels to open completely for about 10 minutes.
  6. Plate and garnish with fresh parsley.

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