Mussels In Saffron Cream Recipe

Serve this elegant starter with baguette and follow with a light main course.


2 lb. mussels
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp butter
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, crushed
Generous pinch of saffron, lightly crushed
2 tsp flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
Handful of chopped fresh chives


Step 1: Discard any mussels that are open. Scrub and debeard the remaining mussels. Put them in a large pot with the wine and set them over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and steam until they open, 3-4 minutes. Strain, reserving the cooking juices (you should have about a cup). Set juices aside. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened.

Step 2: Remove the mussels from the shells, placing the meat in a bowl and discarding the shells.

Step 3: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the shallot, garlic and saffron and gently sauté until shallot is soft, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle over the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour over the reserved cooking juices, stir to blend, then boil to reduce for 5 minutes. Add the cream; gently boil until reduced to soup consistency, 3-5 minutes. Add the mussels. Gently warm through the mussels.

Step 4: Spoon the mussels into serving dishes, then pour over the sauce. Scatter over the chives, and serve, passing the peppermill, but holding back on salt as the mussels will have provided enough already.

Reprinted with permission from Laura Calder’s Paris Express (2014 HarperCollins Canada).