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Recipe for :

Creamy Mussel Soup with Saffron and White Wine

This recipes comes from Dancer and Graphic artist Martin James. Martin, who originally comes from New Zealand, is now living with his wife and children in Copenhagen as he is currently principal Dancer with The Royal Danish Ballet. You will be able to find out more about Martin when his Biography page is published.

Being so gifted it seems unfair that Martin should also be talented in the kitchen as well but he has agreed to share some of his recipes with us which is great news.

"This is a perfect first-course soup. Saffron adds not only its subtle flavour but beautiful color".


3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter
1 large leek (white and tender green), well rinsed and finely chopped
1 medium celery rib, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups fidh stock or clam juice
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
12 black peppercoms
12 parsley stems
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • In a non-reactive soup pot, combine mussels and wine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, and cook until mussels have opened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove mussels from shells, reserving 6 large mussels and 6 half-shells for garnish. Discard any mussels that don't open.
  • Strain cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a large bowl.
  • In same soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add fish stock, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley, saffron, remaining cooked mussels, and reserved mussel liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes.
  • Remove and discard bay leaf.
  • In a food processor or blender, purée soup in batches until smooth and return to soup pot. Bring to a boil.
  • In a small bowl, blend cornstarch with cream and stir into soup. Add salt and pepper and simmer, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Strain soup through a sieve into a large saucepan and simmer over medium heat until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Divide soup among 6 soup plates and garnish each serving with a mussel on the half-shell.

Serves 6

Martin James