Ingredients Jump to Instructions ↓

  1. 2 pounds fresh mussels

  2. 1/4 pound unsalted butter to melt for dipping Juice of

  3. 1 lemon

  4. 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper Fresh lemons cut into wedges

Instructions Jump to Ingredients ↑

  1. Preparation : 1. Just before you prepare this dish, scrub the shellfish thoroughly and rinse them with several changes of cool water. Pull the beards off the mussels. (If you do this in advance, they will die and spoil!) Discard any of the mussels that you can't encourage to close their shells. (They are already dead!) If you are using clams or scallops, you will not have to worry with the beards. Just scrub each piece, discarding any that won't close, and proceed with step 2.

  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Use no fat at all. When a few drops of water sizzle in the skillet and vaporize, you're ready to cook the mussels. Put all the mussels into the pan and start shaking it at once. The mussels should begin to open immediately. Keep shaking the pan until all of them have opened. If the pan becomes completely dry, sprinkle a few drops of water to moisten it. When all the mussels are opened, grind some fresh black pepper on them and bring the pan right to the table.

  3. For the dipping sauce, melt the unsalted butter and stir in the fresh lemon juice and freshly ground pepper. Garnish the platter with freshly cut lemon wedges. Teacher’s Tips: 1. Although mussels are native to the cold waters off Brittany, they are a favorite all over France. Their flavor can be more assertive than clams and some oysters, and they’re not eaten raw, but if you like shellfish, you should get to know them because (a) they’re delicious; (b) they’re plentiful in this country -- found all along the New England coast as well as from Northern California to Washington State; (c) they’re the one great shellfish bargain left in the market.

  4. When your shellfish are very fresh, they are so sweet! They need no added salt because they are naturally salty, and eating them this way brings out all the wonderful briny flavor. Wine Tip: The best choice for this (and most) mussel dishes is Muscadet – the flinty white wine of the Loire Valley in France. My own personal favorite is Sauvion’s Chateau du Clray.


Send feedback