Muscle Mussels

Muscle Mussels

I’m a massive fan of mussels and discovered my love for them fairly late in life.  There are many ways to cook and serve these beauties, but here’s a lovely light simple recipe.

Ingredients for 2 servings

1000g live mussels
100g onions, chopped
15g olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped or crushed
1/2 lemon, juice only
20g fresh parsley, chopped
75ml white wine
salt and pepper

(Example ingredient amounts given, adjust accordingly to your requirements)


  • Place your live mussels into a bowl of clean cold water and remove any obvious debris.
  • Mussels will generally still have a ‘beard’ attached to them but these are easy to remove.
  • Hold it between your thumb and forefinger and pull it downwards towards the hinged-end of the mussel shell until it comes away.
  • Mussels if they are still live will be firmly shut but sometimes you’ll come across one that’s slightly open.
  • Give it a gentle tap and set it aside.
  • Discard any which are wide open or have broken shells.
  • Repeat this process until you have sorted through all your mussels – this shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes generally.
  • As you sort through your mussels, place them into another bowl of cold clean water.
  • Go back to any that were open and the ones that have closed pop back in your water and any that you’re unsure of discard – better safe than sorry!
  • You’re going to need a rather large sauce pan with a lid.
  • Put this onto the heat and add your olive oil.
  • When this has warmed add your onions and garlic and take a few minutes to soften them without colouring them.
  • Add the mussels by hand, you don’t need the water they were in but it isn’t necessary to drain them.
  • When you have added all the mussels, give them a good stir to mix everything together, pour in the wine then stir again for a minute to burn off the alcohol and then cover with a lid.
  • The wine will come to a rapid boil and will steam the mussels open.
  • The mussels hold a little water and this combined with the wine is going to create the lightest broth full of flavour!
  • After a few minutes give the pan a shake without taking the lid off.
  • Leave the mussels for another minute or so before you take the lid off and see what’s happening in the pan.
  • When the mussels are ready they will have opened to expose the mussel within.
  • Add a little seasoning to the pan to taste along with the lemon juice and the chopped parsley.
  • Give everything a good stir before decanting them to the largest bowl you own.
  • If you come across any that haven’t opened, just discard them.
  • Take your time, enjoy the mussels and enjoy the broth too.

What a lean treat!


  • The general rule of thumb when using wine in a recipe is if you wouldn’t drink it why cook with it?  It doesn’t have to be expensive.
  • After cooking don’t attempt to eat any mussels that haven’t opened.
Nella Foulds
Nella Foulds

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