Franco's Steamed Mussels

steamed mussels
steamed mussels photo by greg rannells

Landlocked St. Louis may not be near a beach, but the taste of the sea is as close as Soulard, where Franco’s Matthew Abeshouse puts a modern spin on a bistro classic by adding sweet cipollini onions and briny sea beans to steamed mussels. Up the French factor by serving the mussels with their traditional accompaniment, pommes frites; you’ll find Franco’s recipe at – Katie O’Connor


2 Tbsp. butter, divided
2 cipollini onions, peeled
3¾ cups vegetable stock, divided
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp. diced shallots
¼ cup sliced leeks
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
½ cup white wine
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
1 oz. sea beans
1 Tbsp. each chopped parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon
1 lb. Prince Edward Island mussels, cleaned
1 baguette, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste


• Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

• Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small sauté pan. Peel the onions, add them to the pan and sauté until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes.

• Pour ¾ cup vegetable stock into the pan (or enough to come halfway up the sides of the onions). Place the pan in the oven and roast until tender, about 12 minutes.

• Allow the onions to cool, then quarter them.

• In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the shallots, leeks and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent.

• Add the white wine, bring to a boil and reduce by half.

• Add the roasted cipollinis, the remaining 3 cups stock, paprika, sea beans, herbs, remaining 1 tablespoon butter and mussels. Allow the liquid to simmer or lightly boil.

• Cover the pot and steam the mussels until they open, about 5 to 7 minutes.

• While the mussels are cooking, brush the bread slices with the remaining olive oil and lightly toast.

• Remove the pot from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

• Evenly distribute the mussels, vegetables and stock between two large bowls, discarding any unopened mussels.

• Serve with the toasted bread.

Tags : Mussels