Wine-steamed Mussels with Oregano and Orange

Preparation info

  • Makes


    Appetizer Servings
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

Steaming shellfish is a perfect way to get full flavor with almost no fat. This technique for steaming mussels also works well with clams, particularly small ones. When steaming mussels or clams, cook them, tightly covered, just until the shells open, no longer.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups diced (¼ inch) sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped, stems removed, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 strips (3 × ½ inch) orange zest
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed, debearded, and rinsed


    1. Heat the olive oil and onion in a wide saucepan or deep skillet, preferably nonstick, over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the onion is crisp-tender but not browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the oregano, crushed garlic, and 1 strip of the orange zest and sauté 30 seconds. Add the wine, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
    2. Add the mussels, cover the pan tightly, and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan once or twice, until the mussels have opened, about 5 minutes. Remove any opened mussels into a large serving bowl or deep platter and cover with foil. Continue cooking the others until they open, about 5 minutes longer. Discard any unopened mussels.
    3. Meanwhile, combine the parsley, the remaining 2 strips orange zest, and the whole garlic and chop fine with a chef’s knife or small food processor. Set aside.
    4. Stir the parsley mixture and tomatoes, if using, into the broth in the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the orange pulp and turn off the heat. Ladle the broth over the mussels and serve immediately, garnished with sprigs of oregano.