Fish/ Recipe

Cortez Island Steamed Mussels with White Wine, Herb Saffron Broth

I wanna talk about mussels!
ahhhnoldvia link
No! Not those muscles… Food mussels! I have to be honest though – young Arnie on the beach with a little booze? Talk about dream boat! You know, except for that whole Republican thing…
It seems a lot of the food I’m making recently stems from inspiration that I’m getting from other bloggers. I know some people have an issue with food bloggers, and rightfully so. Most of us have no formal training in food, nor do we always realize the ramifications that may occur from giving a bad restaurant review. We (can) have a lot of power and maybe that scares some people. That being said, food should be accessible. And the more people we have talking about and connecting through food, the closer we come to a more transparent food system – right from the producers, to the restaurants, to the home chefs, to our loved ones. So food bloggers, blog on! And I’ll keep being inspired. 
Right! Speaking of inspiration, this recipe began at Lavender and Lovage. I’ve been dreaming about making mussels for ages and I’m not afeared to admit it – I was a little afeared. I didn’t really know what to do with them, nor did I want to touch a living creature. And the barnacles that get stuck to em? Ew! Creepy! They’re alive too btw. But as part of our New Years Eve feast, I tackled the little monsters. And as it turns out, they aren’t so monstrous. Quite benign actually. And positively sensational! I really wish I’d gotten to it sooner. If you like shellfish, all aboard people!

Before you start you’ll have to clean them. This means dumping them into a bowl and one by one rinsing them very briefly under cold water to remove any sand, snap off barnacles, etc… and if you can help it – get the ones with the “beards”. Don’t worry, they aren’t really beards – they’re just seaweed. I think. They should snap shut as you pick them up if they aren’t closed already (I tapped mine with a spoon before I picked em up), and as you rinse them, if there are beards, pull them off with a firm tug.Do NOT soak your mussels before cooking – these are salt water animals. If you soak them in fresh water = less happy, more dead fish. And if they’re dead, you can’t eat em. After they’re cleaned, place in a separate bowl and set aside. Cook. Once they’re done, discard any mussels that didn’t open during cooking. This means they were dead to begin with and if they’re dead, and you eat em, you can get very ill. Just chuck em in the garbage. The rest are fine. No, wait. They’re more than fine. They’re handsome, plump, gorgeous little morsels that I’m gonna devour. Absolutely devour.

Steamed Cortez Island Mussels with White Wine, Herb Saffron Broth


  • 24 Mussels, rinsed & cleaned.
  • 1 Spanish Onion, peeled & thinly sliced.
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped.
  • Small Handful Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half.
  • 1 Bird's Eye Chili, finely sliced.
  • 1 C Dry White Wine.
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp Butter, unsalted.
  • Handful of Fresh Herbs roughly chopped (parsley, thyme).
  • 1 Bay Leaf.
  • Pinch of Saffron Threads.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  • Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.


  1. In a large stock pot, heat 1 Tbsp of butter and olive oil over medium heat until the butter is melted and starts to sizzle. Add the onion and saute about 7 minutes or until starting to caramelize, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and continue to cook for about 2 minutes or until fragrant. Careful not to burn your garlic though!
  2. Add the white wine, tomatoes, saffron, bay leaf, salt and pepper; stir.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the mussels, stir well to combine, and then cover the pot. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until the mussels are open and cooked through. Shake the pot once in a while to make sure nothing burns on the bottom. At the last minute stir in the chili, herbs and the rest of the butter.
  5. Discard any mussels that didn't open during cooking and serve in a big 'ole bowl with a generous side of fantastically delicious bread.



This post is linked up with The Hearth & Soul Blog Hop via  The 21st Century Housewife; Tasty Tuesdays; Slightly Indulgent Tuesday; Tuesday Talent Show;This Chick CooksCast Party Wednesday; Full Plate Thursday; Tasteastic Thursday; Fight Back Friday.

  • Annie Smith
    January 30, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    oh yum! I used to eat those occasionally when I lived in Seattle, so fresh! I personally love food blogs, that’s my fave kinda blog really..I love being inspired by someone else to cook something new!

  • Cheap Ethnic Eatz
    January 30, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Wow, Arnold, how things change! Good for you for facing the muscle, oops mean mussels. I have a love-hate relationship with them but your recipe does look tempting.

  • City Girl Chicago
    January 30, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Food bloggers unite! Haha, in all seriousness, mussels are awesome and I’m glad you summoned the courage to tackle them here. They look delish!

  • Lindsey
    January 31, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    I think it’s the chef snobs who have a problem with food bloggers.

    I guess if everyone just pays attention to where they get their recipes (just like people should pay attention to where they get their news) and always consider the source, everything is fine.

    I dig food bloggers. Because they aren’t afraid to try new things, screw up and then report on it!

  • Kristy Lynn
    January 31, 2012 at 5:25 AM

    @ Annie Smith: exactly!

    @ Cheap Ethnic Eatz: Facing the muscle can be a scary thing!

    @ City Girl Chicago: YOU look delish! (is that creepy?)…

    @ Lindsey: agreed.

  • Teresa,
    February 1, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    I am laughing as I look at a young Arnold…how things change!
    I also love mussels and your delicious recipe. Yum.

  • Kristy Lynn
    February 2, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    @ Teresa: it’s sad, really. haha..

  • April @ The 21st Century Housewife
    February 3, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    I love mussels, but I’ve never cooked them myself. I am a little afeared of them too! However your post makes it sound very do-able, and your mussels look really delicious. I like the idea of using the saffron in the broth as well. Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul hop.

    Oh, and I agree with you about food blogging – I think it is important to make everything more accessible. I have to say, things have gotten so much better than back when I started ten years ago. People have much more respect for us than they used to 🙂

  • Melanie
    February 3, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Thank you for sharing! We adore mussels here and can’t wait to try a new recipe. Sounds delicious!

  • Kristy Lynn
    February 3, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    @ April: Thanks for coming by and for such wonderful comments all the time! It really is appreciated! PS. Mussels. Are. Awesome. 😉

    @ Melanie: Thank you! Let me know how it goes!

  • Alea Milham
    February 5, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    I have wonderful memories of visiting my grandma at the beach and enjoying mussels with her. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe with the Gallery.

  • Miz Helen
    February 5, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Hi Kristy,
    I am having difficulty moving past the yellow trunks to the bowl of fabulous mussels, nice eye candy! We get mussels right out of our lake all the time and they are awesome, we will sure be trying your recipe. Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  • Kristy Lynn
    February 7, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    @ Alea: ooooh what a lovely memory! I’m jealous.

    @ Miz Helen: i know, right! let me know how the recipe turns out for you! See you soon!

  • Lady Behind The Curtain
    February 7, 2012 at 7:04 AM

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! Your recipe was featured on Today’s Menu Round Up
    Please go grab a “featured” button.
    Thank you for sharing your recipe with us at Cast Party Wednesday #26!

  • Kristy Lynn
    February 7, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    @ Lady Behind the Curtain: Ooooh! Thank YOU Sheryl! Headin’ over there now 🙂