Mussels with Wine and Herbs

We are so lucky to have a local market that provides fresh mussels from the cold waters of New England. Yesterday, my husband was lamenting that he hasn’t had mussels in a while. He spent summers on PEI in Canada and was super spoiled by the abundance of fresh seafood available there.

A pound of mussels serves two. When choosing mussels, choose the ones with closed shells. If shells are open before cooking then it’s likely the mussel is dead or nearly so. I like to use them the same day I buy them. Before cooking, place the mussels in a bowl and run under cold water, lightly scrubbing the outside. Remove any fibrous growth, also known as the beard. Some markets clean this for you.


  • 1 pound fresh mussels

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/4 cup diced pancetta

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 cup white wine


  • Clean the mussels.
  • Add the olive oil to a dutch oven large enough to hold all ingredients. The pan should have a lid since the mussels will be steamed.
  • Saute the pancetta until brown.
  • Add the shallots and garlic. Saute until transparent.
  • Add the wine and bring to a simmer then add the mussels and the rest of the ingredients. Give them a good stir and cover the pot with the lid.
  • Steam for about 5 minutes, gently shaking the pot as they go. Discard any mussels that do not open.
  • Using a large serving spoon, ladle the mussels into a serving bowl, pour the juice over the top and garnish with some additional chopped parsley.
  • Serve with baguettes to soak up the broth.