Mussels Gratin

One summer, when I was a teenager we rented a cottage for a week’s vacation on an island. I think the weather was great because I remember I got badly sunburnt. As the water was just below the house we could go swimming any time. My brother, who was and still is into animals was exploring the water life, snorkeling. One day he found a group of mussels and decided to pick some for supper. (I would not recommend to pick them your self. The mussels can be poisoned by the algae they eat). This must have been my first time eating them fresh. My mother did a great job. It was simple and just fabulous.

mussels in wine

about 30 mussels
400 ml (1.7 cup) white vine
½ red onion
few lemon peels

First you have to clean the mussels. Don’t use mussels that are open or damaged. Chop the onion into small pieces and sauté with some olive oil and chopped garlic. Add the parsley, lemon, salt, pepper and lastly the wine. Heat up before you add the mussels. Let the mussels boil under a saucepan lid for a few minutes. They are done when they have opened. Lift them out and reserve the liquid (that can be used for a soup). The mussels that did not open you have to throw away. They were probably already dead when you started.
Of course you can do only this part and serve the mussels with bread and white wine.


about 100 g (0.2 lbs) butter
3 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper

Prepare the mussels and boil them as I described above. Mix the butter with crushed garlic, parsley and a little salt and pepper. When the mussels have cooled down discard the top half of the mussel shell. Divide up the butter on each mussel. Spread some bread crumbs over. Bake the mussels in the oven at 275°C (550F) until the mussels are golden brown (5-8 minutes). The butter should have started to bubble.

Serve them immediately with bread and dry white wine.

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