M is for Moules Mariniere (aka Mussels)

M is for Mussels

We have made it halfway through the alphabet! This has been a fun project so far and I am looking forward to tackling the second half of the alphabet although the letters are going to get a bit trickier (any ideas for the letter x?!). These past few weeks have been quite busy with work and life in general so I was looking for an inexpensive, easy week night recipe for the letter M so I turned to my trusted friend the mussel. Mussels are quick to prepare, taste amazing and if you increase the recipe quantities, you can impress guests with your “fancy” cooking skills.

My favorite way to enjoy mussels is the French dish Moules Mariniere. The mussels are served in a broth of simple ingredients that compliment their flavor and can (SHOULD) be eaten with a large slice of crusted bread, the perfect vessel to enjoy the broth! Never cooked mussels before? Not a big deal! Other than cleaning them, there is not much to it as they steam in the broth after you add them and open up all on their own. In the instructions I have included a link to a detailed article on how to clean and debeard the mussels. After one shot you will become a pro and this recipe is sure to make it into your summertime meal rotation. Bon appétit!


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • ½ small shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • large pinch of salt and pepper, add more to taste
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup clam juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ pound mussels (I suggest buying these the day of to ensure freshness)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • crusted baguette

Making the broth and mussels

  • First you need to clean your mussels. Most mussels from the store come debearded, but there may be a few pesky ones left. Fair warning, mussels are alive so if one starts to open, don’t be alarmed (I may or may not have freaked out the first time I made mussels…). Here is a detailed article on how to clean, debeard, and sort through the mussels for any that could be dead. Be brave, I know you can do it!
  • Once the mussels are prepped and ready to go, store them in a bowl over ice in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
  • Moving onto the broth, in a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and saute the sliced leeks, shallots, bay leaf, garlic, salt and pepper for 6-7 minutes until soft, but not browned; stir occasionally.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high and add the wine and lemon juice, bring to a boil and reduce the liquid until about half of it has evaporated, this takes approximately 3 minutes.
  • Add the clam juice and water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, carefully add the mussels and cover to steam for 2 minutes.
  • Add the parsley, tomatoes, cream, cover and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until the mussels fully open.
  • And that’s all there is to it! Simple steps to a tasty meal that MUST be served with toasted baguette to sop up all of the broth goodness!

Influenced by: Serious Eats and Spoon Fork Bacon


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