One of the things that I loved most about living in Scotland was the abundance of fresh seafood, especially mussels. I would buy them weekly from the local fishmonger. I have made, and tried, many recipes, but this is by far my favorite…mussels with cream and Pernod. Pernod, an anise-flavored liqueur from France, enhances the flavor of this delicious, simple recipe. And best yet, it can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

Start with a leafy green salad tossed with my favorite vinaigrette. And be certain to have a nice baguette for dipping. You will not want to miss a drop of the yummy mussel broth.

Debearding Mussels

Place the mussels in a colander and run cold water over them, using your hands or a clean scrubbing brush to rub off any seaweed or barnacles on the shell. If you find any open mussels shells, lightly tap the mussel against the side of the sink. If the it closes up again, it’s alive. If it doesn’t close, discard it!

The “beard” of a mussel is the clump of hair-like fibers that comes out the shell. To remove the beard from the mussels, grab it with your thumb and forefinger and tug it towards you. You can also use a knife to gently scrape away the beard.



Mussels with Cream and Pernod

  • Author: Ronda Carman
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


3 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded and cleaned
3 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig of thyme
2 leeks, sliced (white and pale green parts only)
2 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup whipping cream
8 tablespoons Pernod or other anise liqueur
6 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


Rinse the mussels under cold running water while scrubbing with a vegetable brush. Remove the stringy mussel beards with your thumb and index finger as you wash them. Discard any mussels that are open or have broken shells.

Heat butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, and thyme. Cook until the leeks have cooked down, about 5 minutes. Be carful not to burn the garlic. Add the white wine and mussels. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot and cook until mussels open, about 6-8 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer mussels to a medium bowl (discard any mussels that do not open). Discard thyme sprig. Lower the heat to a light simmer. Add whipping cream and Pernod to pot; simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes.

Mix in chopped parsley and return mussels and any accumulated juices to pot. Simmer until mussels are warmed through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. Serve mussels with the broth.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Seafood Mussels with Cream and Pernod

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