Curried Steamed Mussels

Curried Steamed Mussels

After years of not doing justice to the mighty Mytilus edulis by serving it with a run-of-the-mill white-wine broth, I found inspiration in Martin Ruiz Salvador, chef/owner of Fleur de Sel, in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.–David Leite

LC The R Rule Note

Remember that little saying about how you’re not supposed to eat bivalves during months lacking an “r”—to whit, May, June, July, or August? It pretty much holds true if we’re talking about wild mussels, so stick to the rule. If your hankering is for farmed mussels, that’s another story. Modern mussel farms carefully monitor the water level for algae bloom, a toxin that proliferates during warmer months and which is responsible for the little ditty that’s disappointed many a mussel aficionado during summer. So go right ahead. Indulge. Anytime.

Curried Steamed Mussels Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as an entrée


  • 4 pound mussels
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  • 1. Debeard and scrub the mussels, discarding any that feel heavy, have broken shells or don’t close when lightly tapped against the counter.
  • 2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large stock pot. Add the shallots and saute until softened, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Increase the heat to high. Add the white wine and mussels, cover and cook until the mussels open, 9 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. With a slotted spoon, remove the mussels to a bowl, discarding any that didn’t open. Wrap the bowl in a clean tea towel and keep warm.
  • 3. Add the curry powder and cream to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the lime juice and cook to thicken slightly. Return the mussels to the pot, toss to coat and heat through. Ladle the mussels and broth into warmed bowls and sprinkle with cilantro.
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  1. Sounds heavenly. You should also try sliced lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, bashed cilantro root, chiles and coconut milk. Or salt pork, garlic and thyme. Or cream, shallots, chopped tomato and chopped Italian parsley. Or–oh the possibilities are endless–you just need plenty of good bread for all those juices!

    1. Ling, I love the different variations. I wonder if other of our readers have their own variations for mussels?!

  2. Love your curried version but what about Chinese-style fermented black beans, garlic and chili or Provençale-style tomatoes, white wine, garlic, shallots, herbs and chili? Or go rustic with beer, Thai with a green curry or tom yam sauce, Spanish with chorizo, sherry, garlic, smoked paprika? So many mussels, so little time… The one must-have though as Ling pointed out is good crusty bread to mop up all the delectable juices ;-)

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