Vacation by the sea.
Shell season. Delightful. That’s when I like to sit in one of the many fish restaurants in Hamburg’s Portuguese Quarter and eat Blue mussels. Heaps of them …

Especially when the blue mussels are fresh from the Northern Sea, from the mussel beds in front of the island of Sylt, they taste simply fantastic.

Isn’t the feeling of eating them just great? Reach into the bowl with your fingers, fish out one mussel at a time from the white wine broth, use an empty mussel shell as “tongs”, use it to scoop out the mussel meat and ‘put it in’ . Then dip the white bread into the broth. I don’t even have to go to St. Peter-Ording or Westerland: The vacation by the sea starts immediately – as a Cinema in mind.

Greasy fingers and blissful delight – finger food at its best.

Eating blue mussels is one thing.
Prepare blue mussels yourself the other.
You may be worried about whether you can do it on your own? Or whether the mussels are really fresh?
Or, or, or …

However, it is actually all quite simple.


Preparation time

1 hour


Cooking time

15 minutes


for 2 persons

Kitchen know-it-all

Blue Mussels - What's their attitude?
Are they bad – or are they just in a bad mood?
Pile mussels or blue mussels – german: “Miesmuscheln” – are not poor quality mussels.
They are not in a bad mood (german: ”mies”) either.
Why are Miesmuscheln (blue mussels) called what they are called?
Blue mussels cover the seabed like a carpet – very similar to moss.
The Medieval high-German word for moss was “Mies”. The name mussel therefore means moss mussel.
Where do blue mussels come from?
In the kitchen, the mussel has been popular for centuries, they were already cultivated in ancient Greece. Today, the extremely adaptable animals originate everywhere from the Mediterranean, but also from the North Atlantic and the North Sea coast.
Here in the north, the island of Sylt blue mussels are particularly popular.
Where do Blue mussels come from?
The mussel grows in huge mussel beds, which can reach a size of several kilometers and consist of many millions of animals. They reproduce between April and June. The females release eggs and the males release seeds into the open water. Large mussel beds thus provide optimal conditions for fertilization of the 5 to 12 million eggs laid by ONE individual mussel per spawning season.
Why should mussels only be eaten in the months ending with an ‘r’?
Mussels are available in the cooler months from September to February. In Germany we all know the so-called R-rule:
In the months with an ‘r’ at the end (german names) is shellfish season. During this period, the mussels are particularly ‘meaty’. Another reason was that in the past, during these months, people had fewer problems keeping the mussels cool. Today they could be consumed all year round. But it is good that they have a closed season.
What should I look for when buying mussels?
On freshness. Go to the fishmonger you trust. Let us show you the mussels. Are they well chilled, are the shells shiny? Are the mussel shells closed? Do they smell salty and like the sea? Then all is well. Buy them …
How many mussels do I need per person?
You calculate about 1 kilo of Blue mussels per person. A good fishmonger weighs the goods and then adds a scoop afterwards, because it can always happen that one or the other dead animal is there.
What should I pay attention to when preparing blue mussels?
The mussels must be thoroughly watered and cleaned before cooking. Sort out all animals whose shells are damaged or open. After cooking the mussels, it is the opposite – sort out all the mussels that have not opened after cooking.


  • ½ garlic bulb (fresh)
  • 2 onions
  • 2 leeks
  • 200 g carrots
  • 200 g celeriac
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 700 ml white wine (dry)
  • 2 kg blue mussels (fresh from the fishmonger)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 1 tablespoon pepper (grains)
  • 1 tsp salt

Goes well with …

… with a baguette or a ciabatta.
Have a dry Riesling or Pinot Gris with it.
However, a rosé (e.g. Syrah) is also a fantastic match.
Of course, all well cooled.


The good old wine rule: “What you drink, you cook with” sounds plausible, but it’s nonsense.
I don’t know how many liters of the best wine I have courageously tipped into soups, sauces & Co. And weep a tear for every drop.

Drink their good stuff!
And don’t overcook it. Of course, it is important and right to use a decent quality as a cooking wine. It is an ingredient and deserves as much attention as any other. But you don’t have to overdo it either.


Prepare blue mussels

  • Soak mussels in cold, standing water for about 20 minutes.
    • Important: Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to immediately sort out and throw away opened or damaged specimens.
      • Therefore, be sure to give the mussels the 20 minutes to acclimate. Healthy mussels quickly close their shells again. You can now sort out the mussels that have not done so.
    • Tip: Add a chopped chili pepper to the water, this will encourage the mussels to flush out.
    • Clean mussels: Remove the so-called “beard” (these are the hard threads on the side of the mussel), by pulling it off vigorously.
  • Brush shells again with a brush under running water, removing any stubborn sand residue or calcium deposits.

Wash mussels

Prepare vegetables

  • Cut garlic bulb in half.
  • Peel the onions and cut them in half.
  • Clean leeks, cut in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly.
  • Peel the carrots and celery.
  • Cut onions, leeks, carrots and celery into coarse strips.
  • Clean and chop the parsley.


  • Heat oil and butter in large pot.
  • Cook garlic and onions over medium heat for 2 min. stew.
  • Add leeks, carrots, celery and cook for 5 min. continue steaming.
  • Deglaze with white wine.
  • Add salt and peppercorns to taste.
  • Add bay leaves and juniper berries.
  • Bring the broth to a boil.

Add wine

Cook mussels

  • Add blue mussels to the boiling broth.
  • Reduce heat.
  • Covered 15 min. cook.
  • Gently shake the pot from time to time. (This way you keep creating some space and the shells can open evenly).
  • At the end, add the parsley (let it cook briefly).

Put blue mussels in wine-vegetable mixture

Arrange mussels

  • Put the mussels with the broth in a large bowl and serve (or just put the cooking pot on the table).
  • Pour into deep plates in portions.
  • Important: When eating, sort out and discard the blue mussels that have not opened during cooking.
  • This is how mussels are eaten: Use empty mussel shells as tongs.
Mussels | Recipe | Koch für 2! Blue Mussels in White Wine


It goes well with baguette or ciabatta.

Blue mussels Last Update: 2019-01-15T17:40:33+01:00 da Thorsten
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