Some dishes require hours upon hours to develop, layering a series of incredible flavors, one on top of the other in a culinary showstopper. This is not one of those dishes — which is not to say that it’s not loaded with flavor and complexity and real deliciousness. It just happens to take less than 20 minutes to go from mis en place to voila!
Steamed mussels are a home cook’s secret weapon—tasty, filling, inexpensive and easy. It’s been a long week and you want a good dinner but you’re tired? Mussels. Impromptu happy hour with some friends at your place? Mussels. Half a baguette laying around and nothing to dip it into? You see where this is going.
The basic formula for steaming mussels is this: Prep mussels, heat oil and aromatics in a big pot (like this lovely Staub number), add some liquid (usually wine or stock, but in this case also Pernod for a South-of-France feel) and bring to a boil, add mussels, cover, steam, sprinkle with herbs and serve. It really is that easy.
This recipe from our cooking class program is incredible as-is, but once you’ve made it a few times, feel free to riff on the other ingredients to your heart’s content. As long as you keep mussels as the centerpiece, you’re pretty much guaranteed a delicious dish.