This dish is an homage to the south coast (or, really, any region) of France, where moules are ubiquitous any-night fare on menus and dinner tables. Coat butter—in France, used interchangeably with cow butter—is available in well-stocked markets and in regions where goats roam. Don't let the very pale color make you think it's bland:The flavor is pure and clean, yet pleasantly earthy and slightly tangy. Goaty. Cultured cow's butter or Irish butter would make a good substitute.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium white or yellow onions, slivered lengthwise
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups medium-dry white wine, such as Viognier or Riesling
  • 2 1/2 cups best-quality fish stock
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 3 pounds small black mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold goat's milk butter, cut into 8 chunks
  • Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Hunks of crusty bread, for serving


Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, and add half the onions, plus Vi teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute the onions, stirring frequendy, until slighdy golden, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, then add the wine, increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer to reduce the liquid by about half, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the fish stock, tomato juice, thyme, and saffron and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour through a sieve into a large, heatproof jug. Discard the solids and reserve the broth.

Place a large saute pan or skillet that will hold all the mussels in a single layer over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil; add the remaining onion. Saute briefly, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mussels to the pan, distributing them in an even layer, and saute for 2 minutes. Add all the broth and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer gently for 3 to 5 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any mussels that have not opened after 8 minutes).

With a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to wide soup bowls, then quickly toss the butter and parsley into the broth and swirl the pan until the butter emulsifies into the broth, which will become smooth and glossy.

Spoon some broth over each bowl of mussels and serve immediately, with plenty of crusty bread on the side.

SERVES 6 AS AN APPETIZER, OR 4 AS A MAIN COURSE. CENTRAL COAST: Lone Madrone Chenin Blanc, Paso Robles FARTHER AFIELD: Muscadet Sur Lie Loire Valley, France

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Submitted 9/3/13.
Source: The New Wine Country Cookbook: Recipes from California's Central Coast by Brigit Binns
Submitted By: b smith

Steamed Mussels with Goat Butter