Mussels in white wine broth

A classic bistro dish that’s easy to prepare at home!

I never knew how truly delightful mussels are were until the first time I ate some cultivated (farmed) ones. Prior to that, my family often dug mussels at low tide, carefully extracting their gleaming blueish-black shells from the sand. We’d put them in a bucket of salt water for a while, giving the molluscs time to expel some of the debris inside their shells. Despite our meticulous preparation, too often these foraged mussels were still gritty, occasionally even harbouring tiny, tooth-breaking pearls. Because cultivated mussels are grown floating in the ocean, in mesh bags attached to long ropes, they are extremely clean compared to their sand-collecting cousins, making them a pleasure to prepare and eat. Not only do mussels have a rich, meaty flavour, they are also very nutritious, high in protein and minerals while also low in fat, cholesterol and sodium. This is hands-down my favourite way to enjoy these treasures from the sea; be sure to serve this dish with lots of crusty bread to mop up the flavourful broth.


  • 2 pounds (900 grams) of fresh mussels in their shells
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) diced celery
  • 1 cup (250 mL) white wine (can substitute with chicken broth but wine is best)
  • few grinds black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional but delicious)
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) minced fresh parsley


  • Scrub mussels under cold, running water to remove the beards (fuzzy stuff that looks like lichen) – you may need a small knife to help with this task. Discard any mussels with broken shells or those that do not close up as they are being handled.
  • In a large pot, melt butter.
  • Sauté onion, garlic and celery over medium heat until soft.
  • Add wine, black pepper and red pepper flakes to the pot; bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Add mussels to the pot; cover and let simmer gently over medium-low heat until mussel shells have opened (this should take about 5 minutes).
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked mussels to two broad soup plates. Discard any mussels which have not opened.
  • With a ladle, spoon the broth and vegetables over the mussels.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.


Makes 2 generous servings.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

2 thoughts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.