Any time we have mussels, we think of traveling through the Pacific Northwest. The mussels we’ve had there have been incredible: plump and meaty, with great texture. It is usually just the two of us, bundled up against the cold, huddling over the steamy broth, popping open the shells, making sure to have a bit of the broth in the mussel, then slurping down the mussel and broth together. In this recipe, the tarragon and parsley lend a refreshing bouquet to the broth. If you are a fan of licorice, add star anise to bring out that flavor from the tarragon.

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  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 1 star anise (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups (360ml) dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 pounds (910g) mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • Grilled or toasted crusty bread (French fries, or pommes frites, are also a classic companion)



  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and star anise, if using. Cook for 1 minute, or until the garlic and shallots are soft.
  2. Add the wine, tarragon, and parsley and bring to a simmer. Add the mussels. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes, or until most of the mussels have opened up.
  3. Remove the mussels from the pot and place them in a serving bowl, discarding any mussels that haven’t opened. Pour the broth over the mussels and serve accompanied by the bread or pommes frites.