Mussels with Saffron and Citrus

Serving Size: 4
Total Time:

Chef Mourad Lahlou simmers mussels in a lovely saffron cream sauce. Lahlou prefers Mediterranean mussels. "The ones I get are called that, but they really come from the Pacific Northwest," he says. "They're plump, juicy and don't toughen up as much as other varieties when you cook them."


  • 1.25 cup Riesling
  • grilled bread, for serving
  • kosher salt
  • 2.5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
  • 1.5 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1.5 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 0.5 tsp saffron thread
  • 0.5 cup heavy cream
  • 4 Pound mussels, scrubbed
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1.25 cup water
  • grilled bread, for serving


  1. In a large, wide saucepan, combine the wine, water, thyme and garlic and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook over moderately high heat, shaking the pot a few times, until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a large bowl.
  2. Pour the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a large heatproof measuring cup. Wash the pot and pour in the cooking liquid, leaving behind any grit. Boil the cooking liquid until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cream, saffron and citrus zests and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted, then stir in the mussels until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and serve with grilled bread.

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Recipe Credit: Mourad Lahlou
Image Credit: Fredrika Stjärne