My Foray Into Bi-Valves

We’ve been wanting to try cooking something with mussels for a while, and finally got a good night off that was appropriate for wine and experimentation. 

We couldn’t find the recipe that I had originally had in mind, but did find this one, for Steamed Mussels with Pernod, Celery Root, and Saffron Aioli, from Epicurus via the I-Phone while we were out and about.  It was absolutely amazing- certainly the best seafood that I have ever cooked, and probably the best shellfish I have ever had. 

I couldn’t find celery root, so just used celery, and used full-fat mayo because I couldn’t see buying the low-fat stuff.  It was easy and just took a few minutes once you sorted through the mussels.  We picked up some crusty sourdough to go along, lightly toasted, and it complemented perfectly. 

Steamed Mussels with Pernod, Celery Root and Saffron Aïoli Bon Appétit | February 1999


Offer this main course with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the delicious saffron broth. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc is good here, too.

Yield: Serves 6


For aioli
1 tablespoon hot water
Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
2/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced

For mussels
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large celery root, peeled, finely chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 large leek (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
6 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 1/2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur


Make aioli:
Combine 1 tablespoon hot water and saffron in medium bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in mayonnaise and garlic. Season to taste with salt. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Make mussels:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add celery root, leek, carrots, chopped celery and 4 tablespoons parsley. Stir to coat. Cover pot and cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add mussels, wine and Pernod. Increase heat to high. Cover and cook until mussels open, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes (discard any mussels that do not open). Remove from heat. Season cooking liquid to taste with salt and pepper.

Whisk 1/2 cup cooking liquid into aioli to make thin sauce. Ladle mussels and remaining cooking liquid into 6 bowls. Drizzle each serving with some aioli. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley. Serve mussels, passing re-maining aioli separately.

We halved the recipe, and had a bit leftover, so we shelled the mussels and tossed them with the broth and veggies (adding some extra leeks, celery, and carrots) and some cooked egg noodles, adding in a roux to thicken it up a little bit.  Drizzled the aioli over the top and it was still great.  (I had planned to try it with risotto instead of egg noodles, but was out.) 
Still had a bit of aioli left over, so, for breakfast, toasted a bit more of the sourdough, fried a couple of eggs on top and ate that with the aioli.  Delicious!  (Although I’ll admit that I could have done without the garlic there.) 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: