Mussel Beach

This Pernod-spiked classic belongs in your repertoire

Like a band's hit song performed during every concert, there are certain dishes that are always on a restaurant's menu. Case in point: Don Saunders' garlicky mussels at The Kenwood in Minneapolis. Shallots, white wine and cream are the base for steaming the mussels. Then a basil-garlic pistou (think pesto, minus the pine nuts and Parm) is swirled in at the end. Don't be tempted to skip the splash of Pernod, even if you're buying a bottle just for this recipe: The liqueur's smack of licorice is absolutely key.

Recipe adapted from Don Saunders, The Kenwood, Minneapolis, MN

Mussels In Pistou Broth
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Mussels in Pistou Broth from The Kenwood, Minneapolis
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 30 minutes
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 6 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 large shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded and well rinsed
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon anise-flavored liqueur (preferably Pernod)
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Good bread for serving
  1. Make the pistou: To a food processor, add the garlic, basil, and ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. To a large pot set over medium-high heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallots and cook until they are soft but not colored, about 2 minutes. Add the mussels, white wine and cream. Cover the pot and cook the mussels until they begin to open, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Uncover the pot and add the pistou, lemon juice, liqueur and salt, then stir to combine. Divide the mussels among 6 bowls and serve with bread on the side.
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