Mussels with Bayonne ham and shallots

Preparation time
less than 30 mins

Cooking time
less than 10 mins

Serves 3-4

Mussels in a buttery white wine and herb sauce make for a quick, easy and impressive starter. Serve with crusty bread.

By Rick Stein

From Rick Stein's Long Weekends


  • 1.5kg/3lb 5oz mussels
  • 100ml/3½fl oz dry white wine
  • 50g/1¾oz butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 75g/2½oz Bayonne or prosciutto ham, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or chopped very finely
  • 1 handful mixed flatleaf parsley, tarragon, chervil and chives, chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • crusty bread, to serve


  1. Clean and debeard the mussels. If any mussels are opened, tap them lightly on a hard surface. If they don't close, discard them.

  2. Add 2 tablespoons wine to a large lidded saucepan. Add the mussels, cover with the lid and cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan periodically until they have opened (discard any that do not open). Remove from the heat and strain into a colander over a large bowl. Reserve the cooking liquor and keep the mussels warm.

  3. In the same pan, melt the butter and gently cook the shallot, ham and garlic for 4-5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the mussel cooking liquor and remaining wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the volume of liquid has reduced by half. Add the mussels and herbs and mix well, then season with black pepper.

  4. Serve in warmed bowls with some crusty bread.