Recipe: Mussels with Shallots & Wine

We are very fortunate that neither of us are allergic to seafood. Fish, shrimp, crab, scallops, oysters, geoduck, you name it, I’ll eat it raw and/or cooked. Seafood has played a large part in my diet growing up, and I have savoured every bit of it. Seafood also happens to be a major source of protein and nutrients. The only thing to be mindful of is that certain types of seafood may contain high levels of mercury.

When we cook seafood, I tend not to add much seasoning for fear of overpowering it. Seafood is delicate, unlike red meat or pork, and should be treated with more care. Our seafood cravings called for some mussels, and since we were already at Granville Island for a scavenger hunt earlier that day, we stopped by The Lobster Man and picked up 2 pounds for dinner.

The following recipe was given to us years ago from The Lobster Man the first time we bought mussels from them. To this day, we still have a copy of it in my compilation of recipes that we keep and treasure. As we only brought home half the amount of mussels the recipe calls for, we adjusted ingredient portions accordingly.

For the wine, we used a sauvignon blanc, and used West Coast mussels as opposed to PEI mussels. Remember to clean your mussels before placing them in the saucepan. You can use a small brush to scrub any dirt or barnacles off the shells. A good rule of thumb with mussels. Toss the ones that are open (before cooking) and toss the ones that stay closed (after cooking). Out of the 2 pounds, we only had 4 mussels that didn’t open. That’s a pretty good rate and that’s how you know the mussels are fresh.

West Coast mussels

Ingredients and Directions:

  • In a large saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups white wine with 3 tbsp chopped shallots, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and generous pinch of cayenne.
  • Boil gently, uncovered for 5 min. Cook over medium heat until sauce is reduced to 1/2 cup, after about 4 min.
  • Stir in 2 tbsp unsalted butter.
  • Add 4 lbs (2kg) mussels. Cover, cook over medium heat, stirring once, until mussels open, 8-10 min. Serves 3

shallots and basilMussels with shallots and basil in white wine sauce
This is a simple recipe if you’re cooking mussels for the first time. There are a plethora of ingredients you can use to cook with these tasty little bivalves. You can add things like sausages, tomatoes, different herbs, or even use spices like curry. Let us know if there’s an ingredient you love to use when cooking your mussels. We picked up a fresh baguette from La Baguette & l’Échalote, and also prepared an endive salad with walnuts, agave, and goat cheese. A very simple half hour meal that anyone can make! Enjoy!

West Coast mussels in white wine, shallots, and basil


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Human Resources by day, and everything else by night. Documenting our lives as a married couple, one trip or event at a time.

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