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Mussels in Benedictine Sauce

This recipe comes from The Epicurean Table which is run by Patricia Conant Webb.

Now living in Spain, Patricia describes her love of good food and cooking as follows:

"My culinary style is influenced by my travelling lifestyle and epicurious approach to foods of my host countries when I lived or travelled to them. I lean most heavily toward the Mediterranean cuisine, Belgian and in general European ways with food.

My deep appreciation for Near and Middle Eastern foods stems from having spent much time and research in such countries.

Over 30 years ago, and unbeknownst to me at the time, I began my quest to quench my epicurious palate. Curious about flavours, food, possibilities and influenced by my travels, I Iistened to my palate, experimented, and created my recipes. Out of a collection of barely legible notes developed a database which has grown into a book. This web site was created to share with whomever passes by, samplings of those recipes created at the Villa".

Patricia has kindly given permission for some of her recipes to be reproduced on Hub-UK but if you want to see more as well as read some of her informative articles you will need to have a look at the web site <click here>

This recipe is inspired by a tasty appetizer we enjoy from one of our favourite local restaurants, Chez Hugo. I have no idea how the cook made her Mussels in Pernod Sauce which were heavenly! Not having Pernod, I experimented with another favourite liquor of mine, Benedictine, which is an excellent and healthy liquor originally made from 27 herbs by Bénédictine monks in France. Served with slices of baguette bread, this is an excellent appetizer for four or main dish for two.


1 kilo mussels (+ - 20mussels)
200 ml. dry white wine (or rosé)
1 garlic clove, halved
2 sm. shallots, quartered
2 t. cornstarch
1 T. water
1 lg. egg yolk
30 g. butter
2 T. Bénédictine liquor (or Pernod - an anise flavoured liquor)
1 T. lemon juice
white pepper
1 T. thick cream (or crème fraîche)
2 T. cooked carrot, finely cubed (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 200°C.
  • If they are not already prepared, remove the 'beards' from the mussels by firmly pulling out and towards the hinge. Remove any barnacles growing on the shells with a small knife, or rub them firmly together under cold running water. Test any mussels that are open by tapping them. If they close, they are still fresh. If they do not, discard.
  • Steam in the wine for 4 - 6 minutes or until they just open.
  • Remove mussels, simmer wine with the shallots and garlic until reduced to 150 ml. while you remove the mussels from their shells and set aside.
  • Strain the reduced liquid back into the pan and discard the shallots and garlic.
  • Mix the water with the cornstarch, then blend in the egg. Whisk into the wine and gently heat to thicken, stirring constantly. Just when the first bubble appears, remove from heat.
  • Add the butter, (carrot if using) the lemon juice, the Bénédictine and pepper to taste.
  • Butter a small, shallow casserole, pour in half of the sauce, distribute the mussels and cover with the rest of the sauce.
  • Bake 15 minutes.
  • Serve with a small dollop of cream on the top and a sprinkle of parsley. (Suggest to your guests to stir the cream amongst the mussels first before eating.)

This was perfect with a baked Golden Bream (Dorada) in a Salt Crust, with steamed potatoes and spinach! Double this recipe, serve with basmati rice and a mixed salad for a fine dinner for two!

Serves 4

Patricia Conant Webb

<click here>

All recipes are excerpts from "Welcome to My Kitchen" - The Epicurean Table and are copyright of the author.
The Epicurean Table © 1999-2002 Patricia Conant Webb