MUSSELS - with white wine

MUSSELS - with white wine

MUSSELS WITH WHITE WINE is my favorite meal to serve to guests. Other than some chopping, there's nothing to it; the ingredients are inexpensive, and the results are sublime. A piled-high bowl of mussels in a luscious, flavorful broth is a thing of beauty. Serve with a large slice of garlicky toasted bread or a heaping pile of salty French fries.


¾ cup mayonnaise

2 garlic cloves, mashed to paste

¼ cup finely minced fresh tarragon



4 pounds mussels (see note)

4 tablespoons butter

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped shallots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 bulb fennel, chopped (reserve the fronds for garnish)

2 cups dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

Toasted bread or French fries, for serving

Serves 4 as an entrée

1 To make the aioli, combine the mayonnaise, garlic, and tarragon in a small bowl and mix well.

Season with salt to taste and set aside.

2 Rinse the mussels well under cold water. Pick them over, pulling off any beards and discarding any that are cracked.

3 In a large cast-iron Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, shallots, celery, and fennel, and cook until soft but not colored, stirring often, about 3 minutes.

4 Add the mussels, wine, and tarragon.

Immediately cover the pan and increase the heat to high. Cook for 3 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice.

5 Remove the lid, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and stir. Cover and cook for 3 minutes longer, again shaking the pan once or twice.

6 To serve, divide the mussels and broth among warmed bowls. Garnish with aioli and chopped fennel fronds. Serve with toasted bread or French fries to sop up the broth.

Note: When you buy mussels, ask the fishmonger to clean them. It will save you a bit of time and struggle trying to remove the inedible beards they sometimes come with.

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