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SEASONAL RECIPE

Recipe: Satisfying bowls of mussels with lots of lemon juice and garlic toasts take very little prep

Mussels with Lemon and Herbs
Mussels with Lemon and HerbsKaroline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Serves 4

Lots of lemon juice and plenty of herbs bring a refreshing taste and brightness to satisfying bowls of steamed mussels. They take little prep but you do have to check them to make sure any that are open will close when you squeeze or tap the shells (otherwise discard them). The mussels with shallots and garlic go into a stockpot with wine, lemon, and thyme. Steam them over high heat, then transfer them to big bowls and serve with garlic toasts for sopping up the flavorful cooking broth. Small- and medium-size mussels are typically more tender than large ones.

pounds fresh mussels
2tablespoons olive oil
2large shallots, thinly sliced
5cloves garlic (4 finely chopped and 1 halved lengthwise)
¼teaspoon crushed red pepper
cup white wine
cups chicken or vegetable stock
Grated rind and juice of 1 large lemon
5sprigs fresh thyme
½teaspoon salt
1cup chopped fresh parsley
8large slices crusty bread
¼cup chopped fresh chives

1. Inspect the mussels and discard any that are open (and don't close when squeezed or tapped) or have broken shells. If any of the mussels have beards, the small stringy clump attached to one side, pull or scrape off the beards. Place the mussels in a colander and rinse well with cold water.

2. In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the shallots, chopped garlic, and red pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until the shallots soften. Stir in the wine, stock, lemon juice (reserve the lemon rind for later), thyme, and salt. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

3. Add the mussels to the pot, cover, and steam for 2 minutes. Open the lid and stir to redistribute the mussels. Cover and continue steaming for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the mussels open. (Total cooking time is 4 to 6 minutes.) If there are still mussels that have not opened, use a slotted spoon to transfer the open mussels to a large bowl. Continue to steam the unopened mussels for a few minutes. Discard any mussels that haven't opened after 8 minutes. Return all the mussels to the pot.

4. Sprinkle the lemon rind and parsley over the mussels and stir to mix well. Remove from the heat; keep covered.

5. Meanwhile, toast the bread. Drizzle a little olive oil on each slice, then rub with the cut-side of the extra garlic clove.

6. Divide the mussels and broth among 4 shallow bowls. Sprinkle with chives. Serve with the garlic toasts.

Lisa Zwirn

Serves 4

Lots of lemon juice and plenty of herbs bring a refreshing taste and brightness to satisfying bowls of steamed mussels. They take little prep but you do have to check them to make sure any that are open will close when you squeeze or tap the shells (otherwise discard them). The mussels with shallots and garlic go into a stockpot with wine, lemon, and thyme. Steam them over high heat, then transfer them to big bowls and serve with garlic toasts for sopping up the flavorful cooking broth. Small- and medium-size mussels are typically more tender than large ones.

pounds fresh mussels
2tablespoons olive oil
2large shallots, thinly sliced
5cloves garlic (4 finely chopped and 1 halved lengthwise)
¼teaspoon crushed red pepper
cup white wine
cups chicken or vegetable stock
Grated rind and juice of 1 large lemon
5sprigs fresh thyme
½teaspoon salt
1cup chopped fresh parsley
8large slices crusty bread
¼cup chopped fresh chives

1. Inspect the mussels and discard any that are open (and don't close when squeezed or tapped) or have broken shells. If any of the mussels have beards, the small stringy clump attached to one side, pull or scrape off the beards. Place the mussels in a colander and rinse well with cold water.

2. In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the shallots, chopped garlic, and red pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until the shallots soften. Stir in the wine, stock, lemon juice (reserve the lemon rind for later), thyme, and salt. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

3. Add the mussels to the pot, cover, and steam for 2 minutes. Open the lid and stir to redistribute the mussels. Cover and continue steaming for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the mussels open. (Total cooking time is 4 to 6 minutes.) If there are still mussels that have not opened, use a slotted spoon to transfer the open mussels to a large bowl. Continue to steam the unopened mussels for a few minutes. Discard any mussels that haven't opened after 8 minutes. Return all the mussels to the pot.

4. Sprinkle the lemon rind and parsley over the mussels and stir to mix well. Remove from the heat; keep covered.

5. Meanwhile, toast the bread. Drizzle a little olive oil on each slice, then rub with the cut-side of the extra garlic clove.

6. Divide the mussels and broth among 4 shallow bowls. Sprinkle with chives. Serve with the garlic toasts.Lisa Zwirn


Lisa Zwirn can be reached at lisa@lisazwirn.com