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Sautéed Mussels

Mussels have been a valued source of food for thousands of years. They can be smoked, boiled, steamed, roasted, sautéed, or grilled. It’s important that the mussels be kept alive until just before cooking, because once they die, enzymes quickly break down the meat, making it unpalatable. Historically mussels that fail to open during cooking were discarded; however, research done by marine biologist Nick Ruello found that 11.5 percent of mussels fail to open during cooking, but when forced open, 100 percent were adequately cooked and safe to eat.   

Recipe Servings: 2

Prep Time
25 minutes
+ 20 minutes resting
Cook Time
15 minutes
Total Time
1 hour
Gluten Free
Dairy Free



  1. Inspect each mussel and discard any that are cracked or chipped. If any are open, tap them on the counter to see if they close. If they don’t close, discard them.
  2. Soak the mussels in a bowl of water for about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the mussels’ beards (fibers that emerge from the shell) by pulling them out away from the shell until they come off. Complete this step just before cooking or the mussels will die and spoil.
  4. Clean each mussel using a firm brush to remove any sand or odd barnacles.
  5. Rinse the cleaned mussels under cold water.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  7. Add the leeks, shallots, garlic, mussels, white wine, and lemon.
  8. Sauté the mussels until they open.
  9. Season the mussels with salt and pepper.
  10. Add the butter and tomatoes. Carefully toss to combine. Continue cooking until the butter is melted.
  11. Remove the mussels from the heat.
  12. Sprinkle the mussels with thyme and parsley.
  13. Serve immediately.

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