Mussels in a Saffron Cream Sauce

Saffron transforms these mussels into a luxurious dish: with a rich, subtly-spiced cream sauce that will leave you wanting more.


4 ½ pounds mussels
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
1 tbsp. dried oregano
4 cups white wine
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 shallots, chopped
2 cups whipping cream (35%)
1 tsp. saffron threads
2 egg yolks
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Loaf of crusty bread, for serving


Scrub mussels if needed, and remove any beards. Discard any mussels with cracked shells and that do not close when tapped.

Add the mussels, herbs and wine to a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer. Cook until mussels begin to open.

Remove the mussels from the pot and keep warm. Strain the cooking juices and reserve for the sauce.

In a large skillet, sauté whole garlic cloves and chopped shallots in olive oil over medium heat until the shallots begin to soften. Remove the whole garlic cloves and discard. Add the cream, saffron and reserved cooking juices from the mussels. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let sauce simmer until reduced slightly, about 10 minutes.

Whisk egg yolks. Temper the egg yolks by slowly whisking in ½ cup of the hot sauce. Stir the tempered egg yolks slowly into the sauce over low heat. Continue to stir and gently cook sauce until lightly thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over mussels and serve with lots of crusty bread.

Yield: 4 servings.