RECIPE: Steamed Mussels Make You Look Like a Chef!

Finished product looks like a restaurant appetizer…

I just relocated back to the east coast from Colorado.   Running a catering business there, this time of year was always extremely busy.  I haven’t been back for Christmas in five years.   So I was glad to be back.  Spending the holidays with my family prompted a couple of things.   Growing up in the mid-Atlantic and New England, holidays seemed to always have a seafood theme involved.  Whether it was Oyster stuffing at Thanksgiving, Bluefish burgers to welcome summer, or bushels of crabs at Fourth of July barbeques, we love our seafood.

So, we recreated a family tradition seafood feast for New Years’ this year.  And I thought it might be fun to share my simple staple steamed mussels recipe.  So, you can look like a gourmet chef, with minimal effort.

Steamed Mussels


2 lbs. live mussels [scrubbed clean]
1 cup white wine [I used an inexpensive Pinot Grigio]
½ cup [1 stick] unsalted butter
1 lemon, halved
2 medium shallots or ¼  of a medium white onion [sliced thinly]
1 T dried tarragon
1 t salt [optional]

1. Place all ingredients in a pot with a tight fitting lid.
2. Slightly squeeze lemon when placing it in the pot.
3. Replace lid and place over medium high heat until mussels all open.  No more than 12 minutes.
4. Discard any unopened mussels and place open ones in serving bowl.
5. Pour broth over mussels.
6. Serve with remainder of the bottle of wine and a crusty loaf of bread

The dish looks amazing when served up, and no one knows it took you under twenty minutes to prepare.  I get compliments every time I serve it, and it is by far one of the easiest dishes I can make from scratch.

We also had oysters on the half shell, steamed crabs, stuffed lobster tails, steam shrimp, and clams Rockefeller.  That’s right, clams, because we had to have raw oysters.   I picked up all the seafood at the Maine Avenue fish market.  Seafood arrives fresh daily and you can pick out your choices from floating vendors while you stand on the dock.  It is nestled under 395 just southwest of L’Enfant Plaza.  If you’ve never bought at an open air fish market, it is an experience to try.  At least once.

Maine Street Fish Market