Belgian Classics (3): Belgian mussels

Sandra Slawinski 3rd April 2019 0 comments

Gosh I can’t exactly remember when I had my 1st taste of mussels but I do recall that at some biology class we had to dissect them, than cook and eat them. It was a bit of a horrific moment but well, I loved food from the start so I ate them regardless.

As part of a series of Belgian dishes posted every first Wednesday of the month, I vow to demystify these uber Belgian classics for you. Step-by-step I will show you what to do this will have you successfully recreate those gorgeous rustic Belgian flavours.

IN SEASON – it is hard to figure out when mussels are in season cause we always seem to have them available in supermarkets and restaurants . A safe bet is they are in season from October to March. Some people say months with an “R” in they are good to go.  I recommend you ask your fishmonger, if they have them available ask the provenance and than decide if you wish to purchase and cook them.

FLAVOURS – On many touristy menus you can find umpteen different flavours but rest assured no Belgian will be caught dead eating mussels with curry nor Roquefort sauce. For me there are only 3 acceptable preparations:  plain (nature), with white wine sauce (au vin blanc) and with cream sauce (a la creme). My favourite is with white wine.

What is your favourite mussels preparation?

STEP 1 – Clean and rinse the mussels in fresh water a few times.

STEP 2 – Chop the vegetables: celery. carrots, onion and flat parsley.

STEP 3 – Melt the butter, add onion. After a few minutes add the rest of the vegetables and half of the parsley. Add the white wine. Add stock and bring to the boil with vegetables. Add the mussels and cook with lid.

Belgian mussels with white wine

Yield 2 portions


  • 2 kg mussels
  • 1 celery
  • 3 medium size carrots
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 1 bustle flat parsley
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 500 ml fish stock
  • 500 ml water
  • 350 ml white wine


  1. Clean and rinse the mussels. Chop the vegetables.
  2. Melt butter, add and sweat the chopped onion. Add the rest of the vegetables and half of the chopped flat parsley. Add the white wine and bring to boil. Let reduce for a few minutes.
  3. Add the stock and water, bring to the boil, boil for 10 minutes to let reduce a bit.
  4. Add the mussels and cook with lid for  8 to 10 minutes. Carefully toss or shake them a couple of times while cooking.
  5. Remove the lid, sprinkle left over chopped parsley over and serve immediately.


on by Sandra Slawinski

Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski without commercial deals.