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    Mussels with Saffron Sauce and Spinach

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    Mussels with Saffron Sauce and Spinach

    This is a great combination of ingredients that you can, alternatively, pile into individual shortcrust pastry tartlets. The sauce looks as pretty as daffodils in the springtime.

    • Preparation time: 40 minutes
    • Cooking time: 30 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes 60 minutes 10 minutes

    Serves: 4


    • 125g Unsalted butter
    • 3 tbsp Olive oil
    • 6 Shallots, finely chopped
    • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
    • A pinch Saffron threads
    • 250ml White wine
    • 10g Curly parsley, chopped
    • 2kg Mussels, cleaned (discard any that don’t shut when sharply tapped)
    • 2 tbsp Double cream
    • 500g Spinach


    1. Heat a frying pan over a lowish heat. Add 50g butter and 1 tbsp oil. As soon as the fat is hot, add two thirds of the chopped shallots and all the garlic. Fry gently for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently and reducing the heat if the contents start to colour. Stir in the saffron and carry on cooking for another 6-8 minutes or until the shallots have 'melted'. Scrape the contents of the pan into a food processor and blend into a purée. Leave to one side.
    2. Put the remaining shallots, white wine and parsley into a very large saucepan. Bring to a boil over a high heat, then immediately tip in the cleaned and closed mussels. Put on the lid and cook for 3–4 minutes, shaking the pan frequently, until the shells gape open. (Any that now remain closed should be discarded.) Reserving the juices, detach the mussels from the shells and put them to one side in a warm place, loosely covered with clingfilm.
    3. Using some damp muslin or a fine sieve, strain 300ml of the mussel juices into the food processor with the shallots and saffron, add the double cream, then whizz again. Transfer the sauce into a clean pan, season to taste, and leave over a very gentle heat to keep warm.
    4. Heat a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat, then add 50g of butter and the remaining oil. When the fat is hot, add half the spinach. Toss the leaves until they have just wilted, then remove them from the pan and cook the remaining spinach. Leave it to drain in a sieve or colander, then add plenty of black pepper and toss again. Divide the spinach among 4 small warmed dishes – gratin dishes would be good – then pile the mussels on top. Whisk the remaining butter into the sauce, immediately spoon it over the mussels and serve.

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