This recipe from NYT Cooking cooks mussels with shallots, garlic, wine and a spicy cilantro compound butter. Make the butter, form it into a log and chill while cooking the mussels. Cook the shallot briefly before adding garlic, wine and bringing to a boil. Cook mussels until they open, then add cilantro butter and stir while it melts. Serve with lime wedges and crusty bread.

Make the cilantro butter

Mussels in spicy green broth

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that contains only cream or milk, with no colour added. Check the dried spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used white wine from Ontario’s Frogpond Farm winery that has a sulfite level below 10 parts per million. Ace Bakery baguettes are free of additives.


8 tablespoons (120 ml) unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons (10 ml) grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander, briefly toasted in a pan

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin, briefly toasted in a pan

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground turmeric

1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

1 cup very (250 ml) finely chopped cilantro (from 1 large bunch)

2 serrano chiles, very finely chopped

1 teaspoon (5 ml) lime zest

Kosher salt

4 pounds (1.8 kg) mussels

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil

1 large shallot, thinly sliced or finely diced

2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt

1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine

Lime wedges and a crusty baguette, for serving


Make the cilantro butter: Put softened butter in a bowl. Add ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric and black pepper. Mash together with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the cilantro and chiles, and mash well, extracting as much green cilantro juice as possible. Stir in lime zest and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) kosher salt. Form the butter into a log, then wrap with waxed paper or film and chill to firm slightly.

As the butter chills, prepare the mussels: In a large bowl, wash mussels in cold water. Pull off any “beards” and discard (also discard any smashed or gaping mussels). Quickly rinse the mussels and set aside.

Put oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shallot, season with salt, and let sizzle for a minute without browning. Add garlic and white wine and turn heat to high and bring to a boil.

Add mussels, stir well, and cover. Cook mussels over high heat, stirring once, for 5 to 7 minutes, until all mussels have opened. Turn off heat and leave lid on.

To serve, cut cilantro butter into 1-inch (2.54-cm) chunks and stir into the mussels (4 tablespoons/60 ml is probably enough, but use it all if you wish).

Ladle mussels and broth into heated wide shallow soup bowls. Place a bowl on the table to collect empty shells. Pass lime wedges along with a warm crusty baguette, for sopping up the broth. Serves 4.

From NYT Cooking