Oven-Steamed Mussels with Garlic and White Wine

Mussels in a buttery, garlicky white wine broth make a simple and elegant supper.

Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 cups dry white wine (see note)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Brimming 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded (see note)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Crusty bread, for serving

Instructions

  1. Set an oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 500°F.
  2. Set a large roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Do not brown. Add the wine, thyme, and bay leaves and boil until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the salt and mussels. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil (remember the edges of the pan will be hot) and transfer to the oven. Roast until the majority of the mussels have opened, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven, and place a dishtowel over the handle to remind yourself that it's hot. Discard any unopened mussels. Using a wooden spoon, push the mussels to the edges of the pan. Add the butter to the center and stir until melted. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves and stir in the parsley. Spoon the mussels and wine broth into bowls and serve with bread.
  5. Note: When a recipe calls for dry white wine, the best options are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or unoaked Chardonnay. Select a bottle that is inexpensive but still good enough to drink.
  6. Note: Most markets sell farm-raised mussels, which are easy to clean — in fact, they are usually already scrubbed and debearded. However, it’s still a good idea to clean them prior to cooking. Simply put them in a colander and run them under cold running water, using your hands or a scrubbing brush to remove any sand or debris. If beards (the little tuft of fibers the mussel uses to connect to rocks or pilings) are present, cut or scrape them off with a paring knife, or use your fingers to pull them sharply down toward the hinged point of the shells. The mussels should be tightly closed. If you see a mussel that is open, tap it gently against the counter; in a live mussel, this will trigger a reaction to close its shell. If the mussel doesn’t slowly close, it has died and should be discarded. Discard any mussels with cracked shells as well.