Mussels in buttery, garlic sauce

Alas, this could very well be my last shellfish recipe.  I love lobster, clams, mussels, crab… but last week I made my lobster risotto and my husband got this weird rash.  Huh, maybe poison ivy although I couldn’t figure where he’d pick that up since he’s either been in the office or swearing at the computer doing taxes.  But the rash went away and I figured the IRS can give anyone a rash.  Friday was Yama Zakura (best sushi place ever, in Northboro, MA) take-out night and we both got their unbelievable Lobster Bombs. Oh are they gooood.  Until John started itching again.  Hmmm, maybe just a flair up of the IRS rash and I suggested smearing that wasabi gunk on his arms.  Then I noticed that Hannaford had mussels on sale & I’ve been wanting to try Tyler Florence’s Creamy Garlicky Mussels recipe. After John’s rash came back during dinner, I’m going to go with a newly developed shellfish allergy.  But I have to tell you, this recipe is worth any rash you might get.  Even if you don’t care for mussels, soaking fresh French bread in the butter garlic sauce is well worth it.


This is a potentially hazardous recipe in the wrong hands (like mine).  I think I’ve mentioned that a successful meal for me is one where the smoke alarm doesn’t go off & I don’t end up at the ER getting stitches.  As Mrs. Tewksbury, my old Home Ec teacher always said “read through the entire recipe before you start”.  Yeah, yeah, yeah… I glanced at the ingredients, had them all and figured I was good to go.  Then I got to the final step of making the cream sauce & ol’ Tyler says to “buzz the liquid” with an immersion blender!  Huh?  Since I don’t know what an immersion blender is (although I would guess it’s something you could take in the bathtub to make foamy bubbles), I figured out that I didn’t have one of those.  No problem though…

The hint was the word blender.  But that was in the pantry.  Right next to the stove though, is the mixer.  I didn’t want the mussels to get cold so I just dumped the liquid into the mixer & just like Tyler says “put the meat from 10 mussels in the liquid & buzzed“.  Next thing I know, I got hit between the eyes with a mussel blob – then as all the mussels started hitting the beaters I had a tsunami of broth and mussels spraying all over me, the counters, walls… was like being in a paintball fight.  Man those little bastards can fly!

Using the cookbook as a shield I finally got the mixer turned off, rescued enough broth for dipping & we did finally get to eat but you need to know that if you don’t get all the mussels out of your hair before they dry, it’s like trying to get Gorilla Glue out and may require cutting.  I guess if you don’t have an immersion blender, then a regular blender should do – anything to keep these little buggers confined.  That said, the mussels were great over fettuccine and the garlic dipping sauce was awesome.  So I’ve warned you – read the instructions & have the blender handy.

Creamy Garlicky Mussels

4     lbs. mussels
4     TBL butter
2     TBL olive oil
2     Cloves minced garlic
4     Sprigs fresh thyme
1/2  Lemon, thinly sliced
3/4  Cup dry white wine
1/2  Cup chicken broth

– Scrub mussels under running water, discarding any with broken shells or that remain open after running under water (you can also remove any that are closed after cooking).  Melt 2 TBL butter with olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.  Add garlic, thyme, and lemon slices for about 5 minutes.  Add the mussels, stirring to coat with flavorings.  Add wine, then chicken broth; cover and steam for 10-12 minutes until the mussels have opened.

– Remove mussels, discarding any that haven’t opened.  Take the meat from 10-12 of the mussels and return to the pot with the remaining 2 TBL of butter.  Using an immersion blender (if you too are without an immersion blender, then put the meat & liquid into a regular blender) and buzz the liquid until the sauce thickens and becomes creamy.

– I served this with fettuccine, grated parmesan, and warm slices of French bread.

13 thoughts on “Mussels in buttery, garlic sauce

  1. Ok. first.. this recipe does sound amazing..garlic, butter, seafood… I’m all for that. Second..what’s going on in that kitchen of yours? You had me visualizing a crazy scene. Funny how the allergy is hitting the hubbie. I gotta try the bomb.


  2. Judy, I tell ya I should wear a haz-mat suit when I cook. Having mussels splatting all over me & the walls was like something from an I Love Lucy show. As for John, as with a lot of allergies, sometimes you don’t know you have them until you sort of reach your upper limit & then wham. Maybe we’ll give the shellfish a rest for a while although this is Friday & that’s usually Lobster Bomb night. You will love this dish!


  3. Oh My Gosh!! How did I miss this post?! I am seriously laughing out loud with tears in my eyes!! How hysterically funny!! Sorry about John’s rash, flying Bastards and Guerilla Glue in your hair but seriously…I can 100% visualize this like I was watching a movie! I had a similar experience with artichokes once and have never cooked them since. And just like you…I described the scene like something from an I Love Lucy episode. I had artichoke leaves and guts and sea urchin looking crap all over myself and the entire kitchen. I still laugh about it to this day. All that said, I can’t stand Mussels but Mr. Foodie loves them. He’d love this recipe. 🙂


    • Oh thank you! I thought I was the only one this stuff happened to & frankly I wasn’t sure whether or not to put the warning in there but I figure you have a responsibility right? But tell me: 1) Did you have that “whaaa?” moment of hesitation before reacting where you’re getting splattered but it doesn’t dawn on you what’s happening? and 2) Spill… come on, how did you manage to blow up artichokes? That is amazing!


      • My entire artichoke experience was a “whaaaa?!” moment, lol! I had never eaten or cooked fresh artichokes before…only the ones from a can. I knew it was one of Mr. Foodie’s favorites so I set out one day to learn how to cook them. I couldn’t figure the strange things out. I kept pulling the leaves off and looking for the “meat” to dip in the butter. I kept saying, “Where’s the meat? Where’s the damn meat?” I had leaves everywhere to the point where I was just flicking them everywhere. When I was left with almost nothing I got down to the middle of the stupid things and that’s where I found the “sea urchin”, or as Mr. Foodie tells me, the choke. I got whipped by an artichoke, lol!


      • Okay, okay I can see it. You know fresh artichokes really should come with instructions. I made my first before the internet came along so I had no idea what they meant by “removing the choke”. I was determined to make them though after finally talking Mr. Food Adventuresome (not) into eating them by promising a dipping sauce. Kid you not, he did eat them & then right in the middle, on top of the sea urchin he had a big ugly 2″ brown bug! Don’t know what kind he was but he was cripsy. Now that I think of it, artichokes are pretty weird things aren’t they?


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  5. Love the picture you painted! I can’t say I have ever flung shellfish around the kitchen, but I have set off the smoke alarm more than once. And did you know that butter burning onto the bottom of the oven smells absolutely vile?! Mix one slightly warped springform pan with a graham cracker crust made with all the butter but half the crackers (I am a victim of doing too many things at once) and you get shrieking smoke alarm, clouds of smoke and a slightly smoked cheesecake to serve at Christmas dinner. And a nice greasy oven, complete with butter dripping down into the pan drawer underneath the stove.


    • Oh the smoke alarm problem? Yeah, if my husband comes home & the alarms NOT going off, then he knows I’m not cooking dinner. Butter burning on the bottom of the oven however does sound like an especially nasty mess to clean up. At least, being Christmas, you did it for a special event. I remember my neighbor running around to the back of my house while I was cooking on the grill one night. “Oh hi? What’s up?” “OMG, I thought your house was on fire – thought I’d check before calling the fire dept”. Nope, just cooking dinner….


  6. Pingback: Thanks Guys!! I’ve Been Awarded the Liebster and Sunshine Blog Awards! | Fantastic Frugal Foods from Justa's Kitchen

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