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Helena’s Mussels in White Wine

It’s Memorial Day.  The last Monday in May is set aside in the U.S. to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the Armed Forces.

But it’s also considered the unofficial start-date for picnics, neighborhood potlucks and backyard barbecues.

We’re taking the day off and because the Food Safety News team is spread out across the country, we’re having our third annual “virtual potluck” for our Memorial Day celebration.

Dan and Helena are bringing the main dishes — slow-cooked barbecue pork sandwiches and Mussels in Wine. James and Cookson are bringing salads — Barley-Is-Boss Salad and Tortellini Pasta Salad. Mary is bringing a side dish — Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce.  Suzanne is contributing her Rhubarb Crumble for dessert.

We’re sharing our recipes here, so you can join in our virtual potluck or use them at your next one.

Have a  food safe Memorial Day celebration!

The Food Safety News team.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest,  I grew up loving seafood. When I’m missing that familiar coastal fare in Washington, DC, this is a go-to recipe for me. It’s relatively simple and delicious — and the cool waters off of Washington state make these bivalves available year round! (Of course, many more tons of mussels are also raised in the cool waters off of New England and Prince Edward Island in Canada so you can get them fresh pretty much anywhere.)


4 pounds fresh mussels
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 shallots, thinly sliced
a splash of crushed red pepper flakes, more if you like it spicy
3 cups dry white wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon, sliced
Bread with solid crust, for serving

(Serves four people for main course, 6-8 for appetizer)


Keep the mussels in a bag of ice until you are ready to use them. Rinse the mussels well under cold water. Throw out any that are broken, have holes, or are open (they should close if you tap them). Remove any beards (using a dry towel for grip helps).

In a large pot with a lid (a Dutch Oven works like charm), heat the oil and butter over medium heat.  Toss in the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook just for a couple minutes, until soft but not brown.

Add the mussels, wine, half the lemons and half of the parsley. Put the stove on high heat and cover the pan and set a timer for 6 minutes. Mussels are done when they are all open. If any don’t open, toss them out! Serve the mussels in bowls with their own broth topped with the fresh parsley.

Serve with lemon and bread on the side.

© Food Safety News