Classic French Steamed Mussels with Oven Frites


  • Prep Time25 mins
  • Total Time1 hr 5 mins
  • Makes4 servings
Classic French Steamed Mussels with Oven Frites

Produced by Aimee Nishitoba, Photography by Carmen Cheung, Food Styling by Michelle Rabin, Prop Styling by Madeleine Johari.

This is a classic preparation for mussels—and for good reason. You can’t beat a rich cream sauce of shallots, garlic and butter. To make excellent frites without pulling out the deep fryer, I recommend trying this method of first blanching the potatoes in water and then roasting in the oven with olive oil. This prevents the potatoes from drying out so they stay moist on the inside and still get crispy and golden on the outside.—Haley Polinsky


  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, such as canola, vegetable or sunflower


  • 4 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1⁄2-in. fries

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided

  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1 shallot, finely diced

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 cup 35% cream

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1.8 kg mussels, rinced, scrubbed and debearded


  • Position rack in centre of oven, then preheat to 450F.

  • Aioli: Combine egg yolk with 2 tsp lemon juice, Dijon, 1 minced garlic clove and 1⁄4 tsp salt in a medium bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly stream in neutral oil until mixture is fully emulsified. Season with pepper and more lemon juice to taste, if desired. Set aside.

  • Frites: Boil potatoes in a large pot of salted water, 5 min. Drain well, then divide evenly between two baking sheets. Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil over each sheet, then sprinkle with 1⁄4 tsp salt overtop each. Season with pepper. Toss to coat.

  • Bake for 20 min, then flip fries. Continue baking until golden, about 5 more min. Remove from oven. While still hot, season with more salt to taste, if desired.

  • Melt butter in a pot over medium. Add shallot, thyme sprigs and 2 minced garlic cloves. Cook until shallot is softened and fragrant, 3 to 5 min. Pour in cream and wine. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then add mussels. Cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until mussels open, 4 to 5 min. Remove from heat.

  • Serve mussels and cream sauce in large shallow bowls with fries and aioli.

Kitchen tip

A fun way to eat mussels is to use the mussel shell as an eating utensil. Choose a large shell, then use that shell to pinch the mussel meat out of the remaining shells in your bowl.

Find more ideas for cooking with mussels, plus pointers on how to shop for, clean and store them, in this recipe collection.