Culinary Institute of America Recipe
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Mussels in Saffron and White Wine Broth

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Mussels in Saffron and White Wine Broth Recipe by The Culinary Institute of America



Makes 6 Servings

  • 3 pounds mussels
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 2/3 cup chopped tomato (peeled and seeded)
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cup fish broth (recipe here)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives, for garnish

Fish Broth

Makes 2 quarts

  • 5 pounds bones from mild-flavored, lean white fish or shrimp, crab, and/or lobster shells
  • 12 cups (3 quarts) cold water, or as needed
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • One coarsely chopped leek
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 1 spice sachet (recipe here)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Spice Sachet

To flavor 2 1/2 to 3 quarts of liquid

  • 5 or 6 cracked peppercorns
  • 3 or 4 parsley stems
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Scrub the mussels under cold running water. Discard any mussels that remain open or that are filled with sand. Pull away the beards. (Note that you should cook the mussels within a short period of time once you’ve removed their beards.)
  2. For the saffron broth, melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until tender and translucent, about 1 minute. Add the wine, cream, and saffron and simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes more.
  3. Add the green onion, tomato, lemon juice, and broth and continue to simmer until flavorful and slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the mussels and cover the pot tightly. Steam the mussels until their shells open, about 6 minutes. (Discard any mussels that do not open.) Serve the mussels in a heated serving bowl or individual bowls with the broth and garnish with the chives.

Fish Broth

  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and leek until they are transparent.
  2. Add the bones or shells. Cover and cook over low heat until the flesh on the bones is opaque or the shells turn bright red, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the water and simmer until very flavorful, 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Strain the broth and discard all the solids. Skim any fat from the surface or cool in an ice bath, chill, and lift away the hardened fat. Store the broth in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Spice Sachet

  1. Place the herbs and spices on a square piece of cheesecloth large enough to contain them. Twist the corners of the cheesecloth together and tie it securely with one end of a long piece of kitchen string.
  2. When adding to the pot, tie the other end of the string to the pot handle for easy removal later. At the end of cooking, gently pull out the bundle, untie the string from the pot handle, and discard.
  3. If you prefer, enclose the herbs and spices in a large tea ball in place of the cheesecloth and hook it to the side of the pot.

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