Steamed mussels or clams cooked in a white wine.  This is the classic seaside dish of France with a thousand variations.  This is the basic recipe from which you can explore to all others, such as with garlic, with herbs, etc.  Serve with French baguette.

Serves 6.


  • ½ lb. unsalted butter
  • 4 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • ¾ bottle muscadet, white wine, or omit if you have none (here are the thousand variations)
  • 8 lbs. mussels or clams (the smaller ones are better than the larger ones) scrubbed and de-bearded, discarding any broken or open ones, if they haven’t been purged, you can leave them soaking for a few minutes in cold water to release any sand
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 baguette


Melt butter in a large, deep skillet with a lit over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté until soft and golden, about 15 minutes.  Add wine and mussels and cover.  Shake the skillet regularly, holding the lid down, and continue to cook until mussels open, about 10 minutes.  Discard any mussels that don’t open.

Divide the mussels and broth among 6 bowls, lading broth over them.  Sprinkle with parsley and pepper and serve with crusty bread for dipping.