Mussels in White Wine-Garlic Sauce

Several varietals of local wine complement the delicate flavor of seafood, including Traminette, Chardonel and Vidal Blanc. Heavier dishes like curried shrimp and Cajun fish pair well with Traminette; Chardonel complements halibut and trout. Redolent with notes of grapefruit and lemon, Vidal Blanc makes a perfect pair with shrimp, salmon, sushi and mussels.

Vidal Blanc accounts for just 7 percent of the grapes grown in Missouri, and the French-American hybrid grape is most often used to produce sparkling, dry or semi-dry white and dessert wines. In this recipe, the fruity, citrus flavors and crispness of Vidal accent the fresh herbs and lemon zest and juice, enhancing the flavor of the broth used to flavor the mussels.

OPEN UP. Mussels are delicious and fun to eat; they just require a little work. You must clean and scrub mussels thoroughly before cooking them, and they should be stored on ice prior to use. Use a sturdy brush to scrub mussels and carefully pull off their beards. Prior to cooking, if a mussel is open and doesn’t close when tapped, discard it.

Mussels in White Wine-Garlic Sauce

Cherry tomatoes are an easy way to add a little more acid, sweetness and color to this dish; choose the freshest you can find. Serve mussels with warm, crusty garlic bread and a bottle of your favorite Vidal Blanc.

Serves | 4 to 6 |

  • 2 tsp plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, large dice
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, large dice
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 5 lbs mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh chervil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup heavy cream or crème fraȋche
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced

| Preparation | In a large sauté pan with a lid over medium-high heat, add 2 teaspoons butter. Once melted, add onion, leeks, fennel and garlic; season lightly with salt and heavily with pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 to 10 minutes to soften, but not brown, vegetables.

Increase heat to high; add wine and bring to a boil. Let wine reduce slightly. Add prepared mussels all at once and stir. Place lid on pan and let cook, occasionally tipping lid slightly to check on mussels. When all mussels have opened, about 7 to 10 minutes, remove pan from heat. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to remove mussels to a warm bowl; reserve liquid in pan. Cover mussels and set aside.

Return sauté pan to medium-high heat and bring reserved liquid to a simmer. Add tomatoes and herbs and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream or crème fraȋche and whisk to combine. Add lemon zest and juice and remaining butter; whisk until butter melts.

Check warm mussels and return only opened mussels to warm liquid in sauté pan; heat for 1 minute, stirring once or twice. Strain and divide mussels into serving bowls, and pour liquid over each bowl. Serve immediately.


Join Feast Magazine and Schnucks Cooks Cooking School on Wed., May 17, at 6pm at the Des Peres, Missouri, location, to make the dishes in this month’s menu. Tickets are just $45 for a night of cooking, dining and wine. RSVP at or call 314.909.1704.


  • Asparagus Salad
  • Mussels in White Wine-Garlic Sauce
  • Crab and Cod Pie
  • Lemon Meringue Pie


In this class, you’ll learn how to expertly cook mussels at home. You’ll also learn how to make a crisp and springy asparagus salad.