Herbed creamy garlic mussels



20 min


2 servings with leftover sauce

* PLUS Cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 1 kg fresh mussels
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1 onion
  • 2 small lemons
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil , or 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 2 284-mL cans undiluted chicken broth
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup 35% cream , optional
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • Scrub mussels well and remove any beards. If any mussels are open, tap them firmly on counter. If they haven’t closed after a minute, discard them. Mince garlic. Trim fronds from top of fennel and discard. Stand fennel on a cutting board. Slice in half vertically, then cut out core. Finely chop into small pieces no larger than 1/4 inch (0.5 cm). Finely chop onion. Finely grate 1 tablespoon (15 mL) peel from lemons and squeeze out 1/4 cup (50 mL) juice.
  • Melt butter in a large wide saucepan set over medium heat. Add garlic, fennel and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft, from 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in lemon peel and juice. Crumble in rosemary and dried basil. Pour in chicken broth, wine and cream, if using. Bring mixture to a boil, then add mussels. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until mussels have opened, from 4 to 6 minutes. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened. Stir in fresh basil, if using, salt and pepper. Taste and add more seasonings if needed.
  • Spoon mussels into individual bowls, then ladle about 1/2 cup (125 mL) sauce into each bowl. Serve with hunks of crusty french bread for dipping. Pour remaining sauce into a large freezer bag, seal and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 months. Use as a base for fish or seafood chowder.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 126,
  • Protein
  • 10.7 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 7.1 g,
  • Fat
  • 4 g,
  • Fibre
  • 1.1 g,
  • Sodium
  • 728 mg.

While a pot of steaming hot mussels, heavily scented with garlic, fennel and white wine, may make you think your dining room has become a romantic bistro, it doesn’t require a gourmet chef’s touch. Mussels are easy to prepare. And in this recipe, there’s enough sauce left over to stash in the freezer as a flavourful base for a seafood chowder.

Tomorrow’s meal

Pour saved sauce into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often. For dinner from the freezer, cut individually frozen fish fillets, such as cod or perch, into large chunks. Stir into sauce along with frozen peas, carrots or mixed vegetables and a generous pinch of dried tarragon leaves. When vegetables are almost cooked, add a few frozen shrimp or bay scallops and continue cooking until hot.