Salade de Moules

Fresh Mussels with an Herb Vinaigrette

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

The Cuisine of the Sun

By Mireille Johnston

Published 1990

  • About

This is a perfect summer meal, light and enticing. Be sure to serve it with plenty of good bread and a cool, crisp white wine.


  • 6 pounds mussels (there will be about 12 in a pound, but only about 10 will be fresh)
  • cups water
  • cups dry white wine (California Chablis is perfectly good)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 large onions, grated or very finely minced
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons capers or chopped French gherkins
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt


Scrub the mussels with a strong brush, remove the beards, and leave them in cold water for 10 minutes. Throw away all the mussels that are not firmly closed.

Bring the water, wine, and bay leaves to a boil in a large, heavy casserole. Add the mussels and cook, tightly covered, over high heat 4 to 6 minutes, shaking the pot two or three times so that the mussels cook evenly. When all the shells are open, remove the mussels with a slotted spoon and discard the shells. Boil the broth in the casserole to reduce it to about ½ cup and strain it through wet cheesecloth. Check to make sure there is a minimum of sand.

Combine the oil, vinegar, onions, parsley, tarragon, capers, pepper, and salt (if mussels are excessively salty, use only a small amount), and toss with the cooled mussels. Add the mussel broth slowly and taste to check the seasoning. Toss well and chill for at least 1 hour. Check the seasoning again before serving.