When I think of mussels in a white wine sauce I generally think about the summertime, maybe somewhere by the water and a crisp cold beer and wait, don’t forget the fries! Well, its the middle of the winter and a couple of feet of snow on the ground. I’m sure the water is frozen by now, but I still have a hankering for mussels. So how do we adapt our mussels for this wintery season? Easy, add cream! Cream pretty much adds that warm hearty feeling to most savory dishes for me. Similar to how we use white wine to wake up the flavor in our summer mussels, I add fresh grated horseradish to my winter recipe to wake it up a bit and cut through the winter cream. This sauce is so amazing I pretty much want to dunk any crusty bread I have into the sauce or just pour it in a rocks glass and drink away (not advised, its rich, I’ve tried it). You get a bit of sweetness from the onions and cherry tomatoes and a nice sharp bite from the fresh grated horseradish.
There is not a lot of work that goes into preparing mussels but there are two important steps not to forget. First, soak your mussels for twenty minutes in a bowl of salt water using 1/2 cup of salt and filing the water to the top and giving them a good stir. This allows the mussels to clean(filter) out any sand or grit from their shells. Second, Scrub the mussels with a little brush and remove any beards hanging out of the shell with the back of a knife (like in the photo). It’s that easy, now they already for cooking.
Mussels are such a great communal food whether if its two people or six. Everything can be cooked in one pot and served right at the table. You can also loose the utensils and use the mussel shells like little tongs. And don’t forget to hand tear the bread leaving the uneven edges for a sauce delivery device. This is an all hands on dish and is guaranteed to strike up some lively conversation.
Mussels with Horseradish Cream Sauce Recipe
Serves 4 as appetizer or 2 for dinner.
- 1 two pound bag of mussels
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 3 tablespoons fresh horseradish root, peeled and grated (if using prepared, 4 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups white wine, like a crisp white like Vouvray
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and add a half cup of kosher salt. Mix to dissolve salt. Add mussels and allow to sit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove beards with small knife and discard any broken shells.
- Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, sauté garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until fragrant. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, cook 30 seconds gently stirring.
- Add white wine, and stir while bringing to a medium boil. Add heavy cream bring up to a simmer, then add butter.
- Turn down heat to medium and simmer sauce for 10 minutes. The sauce will slightly thicken and coat the back of a spoon.
- Add horseradish, and salt and pepper to taste. Taste sauce and you can adjust by adding more horseradish if you like more of a bite.
- Drain and rinse mussels and add to pot with cream sauce. Gently stir to coat with sauce and cover with lid, cook for 6 minutes.