One-Pot Wonders

Mussels Dijonnaise (Steamed Mussels with Mustard Sauce)

September 24, 2012
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Turner Fisheries, a restaurant in the Westin Hotel in Boston, used to offer this dish as one of its regular specials. I liked to share a bucket with a friend, along with a delicious house salad and a bottle of Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay. These are so easy and delicious they've become a Friday night staple at Chez Julia. —ChefJune

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: ChefJune is a chef and writer based in New York.
WHAT: A dish special enough for a dinner party, and quick enough for a Monday night.
HOW: Sauté onion and shallot, then get mussels steaming with wine, cream, and aromatics.
WHY WE LOVE IT: These mussels take us to a Paris bistro — and they get to the table in under twenty minutes. Add a loaf of crusty bread and a glass of wine, and we’re over the moon. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onions
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 3 quarts mussels, beards removed, cleaned and scrubbed (but you can't do this in advance!)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I use Fallot)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan until melted. Add the onions, shallots and garlic, and cook briefly, until wilted. Do not brown.
  2. Add the mussels, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme, white wine, and cream. Cover closely and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes, shaking to redistribute the mussels. Cook until all the mussels are opened.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a serving bowl. Keep warm. Continue cooking the sauce for a minute, remove bay leaf and the thyme. Stir in the mustard with a wire whisk while heating. Do not boil.
  4. Season sauce to taste with salt if necessary, then spoon equal portions of it over the mussels, and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Pamela Kane
    Pamela Kane
  • Dee J Moye
    Dee J Moye
  • Patty Onichino
    Patty Onichino
  • Jessica Rossi-Kedilerli
    Jessica Rossi-Kedilerli
  • kitz1
30+ years a chef, educator, writer, consultant, "winie," travel guide/coordinator

46 Reviews

Pamela K. March 21, 2024
So good ! I like to use tarragon Dijon in this recipe for an occasional switch. !
Lwitteman August 28, 2023
We make this every month or two, and we love it. I reduce the salt a bit. Well, a lot.

I sometimes substitute dry vermouth for the white wine, and it turns out great.
Joy B. May 7, 2022
wonderful recipe. I'm about to make it again tonight. So easy and really a crowd - and me-pleaser
ChefJune May 10, 2022
I made it again just a few days ago, only this time I subbed out the mustard for the same amount of Gochujang! Same easy mussels, a whole new flavor profile!
Linda July 5, 2021
I've had this at Turner's Fisheries restaurant. Would love to make it myself, but I'm totally intimidated about cleaning and debearding the mussels. Tried to do this years ago and it was a disaster. Any tips on how to debeard mussels would be greatly appreciated. TIA.
Linda July 6, 2021
Thanks so much June! Yes. it was a loooooong time ago. Wow, you have inspired me. Musssels are my favorite seafood!
Dee J. March 10, 2021
I just made this and it was really very good. I had no fresh thyme so had to use dried but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Thanks for sharing this!
Patty O. December 25, 2020
Omg ! Just made it @ wow! Had some leftover mussels and stumbled on this recipe ! Like wow! Delish ! Delizioso! Better than restaurant!
Loved it and easy and quick to make
Jessica R. June 20, 2020
Just made this recipe!! It was absolutely delicious!!! I didn't have any thyme and I didn't substitute it . I had mussels in Paris for the first time a few years ago with this type of sauce but they used a grainy mustard, I have never had them again and I was so excited to finally take the leap and try to make them myself as I was very intimidated by the thought ( I have no idea why lol) and this comes extremely close to the recipe in Paris. I am so impressed with myself and I can't wait to make the again! Recipe is spot on! Outstanding!!!!
cpc December 20, 2018
Easy but impressive dinner. It takes a lot longer than 15 minutes to scrub and debeard the mussels but otherwise, minimal labor involved for a very tasty dish!
ChefJune December 22, 2018
So glad you enjoyed them!
kitz1 June 23, 2017
What a great recipe! Very tasty and easy to make. I made extra sauce so that there would be plenty for dunking the bread.
ChefJune June 23, 2017
That's a great idea!
mstv January 22, 2017
Have made this recipe several times. It is always excellent. I have found that depending on the mustard a little less may be best. Also, I have found I don't need to add any salt. The mussels themselves season the sauce. Planning on making this tonight. So delicious!
ChefJune January 22, 2017
So glad you like it, mstv! :-) There is no such generic thing as "Dijon Mustard," that's why I say which one I use. They differ quite a lot in strength and quality. Not to mention that not everyone likes the same amount.
Emily November 11, 2016
I am about to make this dish for the fifth or sixth time... Absolutely incredible and delicious. Really is easy enough to whip up on a work night but gourmet enough for date night! I love mussels and this is far and above the best way to eat them I hate found, restaurant or home made! Thank you for an incredible recipe. Even impressed my maritime in-laws with it :)
ChefJune November 13, 2016
Thanks so much! So glad you llike it. Yes, sometimes the simplest things are best.
Rose C. November 1, 2015
This sauce is pretty intense, might have a nicer, more delicate flavor with half the mustard and half the salt. Also used white pepper instead.
ChefJune November 1, 2015
Since Dijon mustards vary in intensity, it all depends upon which one you use. I always use Fallot mustard, and I can tell you for sure that I really don't care for Grey Poupon.
julie March 22, 2015
Hi June,
I really enjoyed yesterday's gumbo from Paul. We talked about food52, and you mentioned this mussels dijonnaise recipe. I generally don't use heavy cream. Would full fat Greek yogurt do?
Sincerely, Julie
ChefJune March 22, 2015
I've never used that, but it would be worth a try. The heavy cream I always use is not bought in the supermarket. It's a much different product from local dairy Ronnybrook that I buy at the Union Square Greenmarket. It's pricy, but it keeps a long while.
Grace C. December 20, 2014
I was lucky to enough to have also been to the Westin in Boston many years ago. Had these as an appetizer shared with a friend before dinner the first night of our stay the second night we each had it and cleaned our plates including sauce thought I would never find this recipe. Live in the Pacific Northwest and will definitely be making this over the holidays
Gabriella August 6, 2014
Could you explain the reason you cannot clean the mussels in advance? I'm sure there is a perfectly good one, I'm just not experienced enough with mussels to know what it is.
HB August 7, 2014
There is no reason not to scrub the mussels in advance, but don't beard them until your're ready to cook them as it may kill them, and dead mussels are no fun.
Gabriella August 7, 2014
Aha. That is indeed a good reason. Thanks you so much for the information.
ChefJune March 22, 2015
If you put mussels - indeed any live mollusk - in fresh water, even to rinse them off, you will kill them. They need to be cooked live to be edible.
cass August 6, 2014
Is it correct as the recipe states that "you cannot clean the mussels in advance?
ChefJune March 23, 2015
That's true. They will die, and then they will be toxic.
Germaine C. July 15, 2014
Could I substitute mussels with clams instead?
ChefJune March 23, 2015
You could. You could also sub those little cockles from New Zealand I often see at Whole Foods.
Dishlicious June 18, 2014
3 quarts of mussels? I'm used to buying by the pound. Any guess as to the weight of 3 quarts?
ChefJune March 23, 2015
One quart = 32 ounces.
HB May 2, 2014
It's curious that this recipe appears identical to one posted on food dot com in 2006, down to the wording of the instructions. Is Chef June the same person as SLColman?
ChefJune March 23, 2015
I haven't noticed your comment before, HB, but this recipe appeared in my cookbook that was published in 2001. That predates that recipe on food dot com by 5 years. So my guess is my recipe was pilfered. And they didn't bother to change anything. Shame on them!
Diane P. April 10, 2014
Made this last night and at the last minute, discovered my only mustards were coarse-ground . . . except for some tarragon-flavored (green) Dijon, which was terrific in this recipe. Loved the sauce. Thanks for a great recipe.
ChefJune March 23, 2015
Diane, I often use tarragon mustard for these. It's a great combo!