Julia Child’s Steamed Mussels Recipe

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Inactive: 3 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Total time: 23 minutes

If you are looking for some elegant dinner options, there is no better dish than Moules à La Marinière (steamed mussels). Don’t you want to experience the French charm, eating mussels the way Julia and Paul child might have. This recipe comes directly from Julia Child’s extraordinary book – Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In this masterpiece by Julia Child, there are several pages dedicated solely to mussels. Mussels, with their delicious pink flesh and oval, blue-black shells are often known as poor man’s oysters. However, it always feels incredibly luxurious when you serve it for dinner.

After some preparation, it is just a matter of few minutes before dinner is ready. Julia recommends soaking the mussels for some time in water prior to cooking. If you want your mussels to fatten up a little bit more, try adding some flour to the water used for soaking. Get mussels and your favorite wine, and you are half way there.


  • All-purpose flour: 1/4 cup
  • Dry white wine: 1 cup
  • Mussels: 3 quarts or about 3 pounds (scrubbed)
  • Minced scallions, leeks, or shallots: 1/4 cup
  • Bay leaf: 1/2
  • Parsley sprigs: 4
  • Parsley for garnishing: 1/4 cup
  • Unsalted butter: 3 tablespoons
  • Fresh thyme: 1/2 teaspoon (roughly chopped)
  • Black pepper: 1/8 teaspoon (freshly ground)
  • Baguette: 1 (cut into 1/2-inch slices, drizzle some olive oil, and toast them for some time!)


Take a large mixing bowl and put flour and four cups of water. Whisk them together, and add the mussels to the mixture. Add some more water if needed for covering the mussels. Leave the mussels in soaking water for about an hour in order to disgorge any grit or sand. Take a pan and add minced onion, wine, pepper, parsley sprigs, butter, and thyme. Let the mixture simmer over high heat.

Drain the mussels and rinse them once more. Add the mussels to the mixture and top the pan with lid. Don’t forget to shake the mixture occasionally in order to let the mussels cook evenly. Let the mussels cook like this for about five minutes. When the shells are opened, it is an indication that mussels are cooked.

Serve the steamed mussels in shallow pasta/soup bowl. Garnish it with minced parsley. It would be great if you could serve them with some toasted baguette. The above mentioned recipe will make at least 3 servings.

Important Note:

Discard any mussel with cracked shell when raw, since it indicated that it is dead. Similarly, if a mussel doesn’t open after cooking, it needs to be discarded too.


  1. […] dabbling a bit in the art that is Julia Child, I came across a website dedicated to her recipes here. I know I will definitely be poking around on there in the future and for now, it will have to […]

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