Moules Mariniere (Sailor-Style Mussels)

The French have been cranking out delicious fare for hundreds of years. One of their many, delicious specialties is Moules Mariniere, or sailor-style mussels, traditionally served in their shells and cooked in white wine, butter and shallots. There are many variations of mussels served around the world, but Moules Mariniere is by far the most internationally known style for serving mussels.

The origin of Moules Marinieres dates back to the thirteenth century when a ship wrecked Irishman, Patrick Walton, accidentally discovered mussels hanging to the nets that were left out to trap birds. After the discovery of mussels, sailors played around with different flavors, using readily-available, inexpensive ingredients, and simple cooking methods. Eventually, the recipe evolved into a simple, fresh, and incredibly flavorful version known as Moules Mariniere. This dish is typically served alongside French fries or crusty baguette which can be eaten alone or used to sop up some of the delicious left-over juices from the mussels and the white wine sauce.

Servings: 4


3 tablespoons butter

2 large shallots, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 pounds live mussels, rinsed and debearded

1 cup dry white wine

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon dry thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 tablespoons chopped parsley

Crusty baguette for dipping


In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until the shallots have become fragrant (approximately 2 minutes), stirring frequently. Add the white wine, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot, and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the mussels to the pot and cook, covered, until the mussels have opened up (approximately 5-6 minutes).

Discard any mussels that haven’t opened up. Serve in a large bowl and garnish 4 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Serve with a crusty baguette for dipping.

*Picture courtesy of


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