1. Mussels in Saffron Broth

Mussels in Saffron Broth

This hot, steaming dish makes a great meal to warm a winter evening... and is easy to make at the last minute. The mollusks are steamed in white wine with vegetables and fresh herbs, yielding a richly flavorful broth that gets added to a blend of saffron, finely diced orange bell pepper, and crème fraîche (or light sour cream). Serve with broth in shallow bowls and add thinly cut oven-baked fries (carrots or parsnips) and a crusty loaf of bread. Adapted from a recipe by Beatrice Peltre, the expat French food stylist and photographer behind La Tartine Gourmand, a wonderful culinary blog.

Mussels in Saffron Broth

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 4 1/2 pounds Vital Choice Pacific Blue Mussels (about 75 mussels)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 organic bay leaf
  • 1 small orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • Sea salt and organic black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche (or light sour cream)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


  1. Clean the frozen mussels under a cold tap; set aside. You could thaw the mussels (place them in cold water for 20 minutes in cold water before proceeding) but you do not need to.
  2. In a stock pot, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add half the onion with the celery, carrot, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup of the wine, with the bay leaf and mussels.
  3. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until all the mussels are opened (Pry apart any that do not open - Vital Choice mussels are safely pre-cooked immediately after harvest and before being flash frozen). Set aside off the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, in a flameproof casserole large enough to hold all the mussels, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the remaining onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add the remaining 1/2 cup wine, saffron, salt, and black pepper. Let the mixture bubble steadily for a few minutes. Add the crème fraîche and parsley.
  5. Using a large slotted spoon, remove the mussels from the stock pot. Strain the broth into the saffron mixture. Bring to a boil. Add the mussels to the pan. Spoon the liquid over them.
  6. Divide the mussels and broth among shallow bowls.
Serves: Serves 4