Mussels in a Creamy Garlic Sauce

Mussels Creamy Garlic Sauce (0022) by Meeta K. Wolff  
My father was often away. Traveling the globe to different locations, sometimes far off and exotic other times close to home and familiar, it was a normal way of life for my parents. Before we actually became school going kids, my mother would jet set with him spending a few weeks, maybe a few months depending on how she liked the place my dad was in.       

I personally do not remember much about those places during my early years. Pictures and stories told give life to the places in my mind. The memories are slightly blurred.

Later though as we grew older, my dad traveled less. As school began to play a vital role in our lives, my parents decided that “settling down” would be wiser. But “settling down” for them did not mean the house with a white picket fence, a mini van and a dog in some fancy suburban bliss. No – it simply meant the stints my father did in a specific country were longer. Instead of the 6-8 months it was 2-3 years enabling us to live the settled life my parents envisaged.

Mussels Creamy Garlic Sauce (0002) by Meeta K. Wolff

One of the most valuable times for both my mum and dad was dinner time. My father would have long working days, where lunch was taken at one of the restaurants in the hotel he was working in, my mother busy with her job and my brother and I were usually at school or some afternoon activity during the day, so dinner was the time where we came together as a family. For an Indian family my parents were liberal but the one rule that they did not like being broken was having a proper dinner together as a family.

My mother cooked. Even when we were living in the hotel my mother would make it a point to put a home cooked (or in this case a hotel cooked) meal on the table. She enjoyed cooking for her family and would create lavish meals. Succulent meat curries, elegant rice pilafs, or a delicious pasta dish would be peppered with her love and spiced with her affection.

Time was taken to sit back and talk about the day gone by, what was good, what was bad, problems solved, projects discussed. Dinner time was so much more then just eating. Food was a means for us to come together as a family and be the family we sometimes take for granted. At least once a day we were reminded how precious it was being a family.

Mussels Creamy Garlic Sauce (0019) by Meeta K. Wolff

I have my own family now and am experiencing probably what my parents felt back then. Tom is in Berlin during the week so weekends are spent trying to play catch. But just like my parents, I find it best to catch up at the dinner table. Tom will often ask why spend the time in the kitchen cooking – I smile. Relax. Eat. Talk. What else can I want?

Mussels are probably the easiest and simplest things one can prepare in the kitchen. Once they are thoroughly clean they do not need much cooking time. They can be prepared using the same basic method with a multiple variety of different ingredients and flavors. Here I serve the mussels in a creamy garlic sauce, diced vegetables and a sprinkling of smoked sea salt.

Mussels in a Creamy Garlic Sauce

Printable version of recipe here
2kg fresh mussels
1 tablespoon butter
100 ml dry white wine
150 ml fish stock
2 shallots, finely chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small carrot, diced
1 small parsnip diced
1/2 leek, thinly sliced
100g crème fraîche
Handful chives, chopped
Maldon smoked sea salt

  1. Scrub the mussels in a large bowl of cold water and discard any that are open. Leave to drain.

  2. In a large pan, melt butter and sauté shallots and garlic lightly until transparent and fragrant. Add the carrots, parsnip and leek and quickly toss. Cook for approx 1 minute.

  3. Pour wine and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes, then add the the fish stock.

  4. Tip in the mussels, bring to a boil, cover and shake the pan over a high heat until the mussels are open - about 3-4 minutes. Discard those mussels that have not opened.

  5. Stir in the crème fraîche and season with some smoked sea salt to your taste. Sprinkle with chives and serve in large bowls, with a crusty rustic bread or toss with some fresh tagliatelle.

Mussels Creamy Garlic Sauce (0023) by Meeta K. Wolff
It took me a moment while I was making the mussels, but the realization dawned on me. Trips, outings and excursions with the family are great, we’re out in the fresh air and we have a great time. But it’s only at the dinner table, when we all come together that we take time to address issues and listen to each other. I loved the simple yet extremely bold flavors of the dish. The garlic works wonderfully – infusing the creamy sauce with its fresh and pungent aroma. A glass of wine, a thick crusty rustic bread and dinner was a dream.

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 More seafood on WFLH:
Spicy Black Sesame Sea Bream with Corn-Coriander Salad Asian Style Tilapia Cornflakes Coated Fish Fingers with Roasted Root Veggie Chips

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  1. Beautiful post, my darling sister-from-another-mother :) The older I get, when the time comes to plan a celebration, I no longer want to go out somewhere fancy & expensive: I mostly want to sit down in my own home surrounded by the friends & family I love the most and share food and wine and conversation and laughter until late into the night. So - the 28th, my place - you're invited ;o)

  2. I remember a mussel soup I had years ago , it was creamy, it was unforgettable. Sounds like you had quite an interesting time growing up!

  3. I wish mussels were more readily available here. This looks so delicious!

  4. I adore mussels, rarely miss the opportunity to comment on a recipe/post. More crusty bread please!

  5. I love mussels, especially combined with curry and garlic in some way. Often I make them in a coconut broth, and then serve toasted bread for dipping in the liquid. Delicious!

  6. Yum-- I love mussels. I've never made it with creme fraiche but what a great idea-- that would be delicious!!

  7. I agree whoteheartedly! dinnertime was the best time when I grew up and it still is today!!! My son adores Mussels and I dare not show him this post, he will not stop nagging!!
    Looks super delicious!!

  8. Well, even if my parents never moved, even if we have several moments during the day and the week to spend some time together, dinner time is when we really talk, share comments on the day and build up projects together!
    Love the recipe, mussels are one of my favourite seafruit, and love in a deep and crazy way the last picture!

  9. Mussels and Friets ( french fries ) are one of the national dish from Belgium. Here we all love it ofcourse except for my daughter.
    I love the addition of parsnip in the dish.

  10. I totally agree! I think it's very important to sit down as a family for dinner...a tradition I am going to instill with my on family too :)

    Love this hubby's godmother makes something similar and we all love it!

  11. Dinner time was a sacred thing in my family too and I appreciate it so much now. A bit different with my husband's family and he is also so appreciative of us being ale to sit down for a meal without any distractions. Beautiful dish and styling too.

  12. Can't go wrong with mussels in my opinion, provided they are fresh. Love it. :)

  13. What a great looking dish - love mussels in garlic! I agree that dinner time at the table is the best time to catch up with everyone - my parents are strict about dinner time too - no TV!

  14. You're so right Meeta - dinnertime is really the most special time a family can spend together. Everyone tends to let their guard down around a table, so you get the best conversations!

    I love the sound of these mussels - it is something I still need to dare to make myself. You make it sound so easy. ;-)

  15. I love mussels!! Your dish is wonderful!

  16. Oh how lovely, Meeta. :-) I adore mussels - especially when I'm in Europe. They always taste better somehow. :-) Can't wait to have moules and frites in Amsterdam at Christmas this year. :-)

  17. If I ate mussels, I'd be all over this! Love the sauce!

  18. Love the flavours here Meeta...the creamy, garlic sauce sounds divine with the mussels. Hope you and the family enjoyed these.

  19. "peppered with her love and spiced with her affection." Stunning. This was indeed a gorgeous post that rings true for so many of us. We always had a meal together and JP and I raised our boys with the idea that meals were always eaten as a family and with only conversation to fill the silence. It happens less often these days, the family meals, but when they do we are never at a loss for words or laughter. Beautiful, thoughtful post.

    And mussels? A favorite meal chez nous (moules frîtes, merci!). Absolutely fabulous recipe!

  20. You really wouldn't think it would be too hard to find a nice sounding recipe to make some mussels with, well it is.
    Thank you so much for your post, have been all over trying to find a great sounding recipe for my impulse purchase of mussels.
    Will let you know how mine turn out, thanks again.

  21. This is such a beautiful story. Meals at the table are so essential when growing up, I think. I'm so thankful my mom forced us to eat dinner together every night...unfortunately my dad worked evenings, but Sunday lunches no one was allowed to make plans! Those mussels look delicious

  22. oh mussels. My mum gave me 1 ice box of mussels. Well I want to give this recipe a try lol I am afraid but can't wait to do it. I am excited

  23. Every single time I've commented on your blog I've mentioned how gorgeous your photos are. I just can' help it. They are truly beautiful so I'm saying it again today. Of course the dishes are quite tempting too.

  24. I was wondering what type of white wine goes with this dish?

  25. Thank you everyone for all your lovely comments. Glad you are enjoying the story and these mussels.

    DFF - any dry white would do. use the one you would drink in this! ;o)


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