Mussels in saffron broth — Moules au safran


Mussels in saffron broth

Moules marinières
— mussels cooked in white wine, shallot and parsley — is a French classic. It’s also a dish that P. and I adore, especially if the dish is paired with thin oven baked fries on the side — our favorite are parsnips and carrots (these are yellow carrots!)

yellow carrots fries

This is exactly the kind of dish I wanted to prepare for my most recent contribution to the Seasons column in the Boston Globe.

In fact, I made the recipe last week when my mother was visiting. She helped to clean the mussels — and I was glad since we bought three kilos — and gulp down the food. Because whenever there are mussels and fries for dinner, this is exactly what we end up doing! I am not sure how much each of us ate, but by looking at the pile of mussel shells on the table, I guess it was a lot. Then, I shelled the remaining mussels, kept the broth, and the next day, prepared a dish of spaghetti and sauteed julienned vegetables in which I added the reserved mussels and broth. Scrumptious!

In this mussel recipe, the flavor of the white wine-based broth is boosted with the addition of an earthy spice like saffron, orange bell pepper for a touch of color, and crème fraiche for smoothness. Make sure not to forget a loaf of crusty bread on the side, to sop up the broth.

It’s simple but delicious! The kind of honest food that tastes even better eaten with your fingers, making sure to lick them afterward.

Posted in Appetizers, Fish, French Inspired, Gluten Free


  1. The mussels are a very special meal… most of people don’t consider them as something extraordinary, but as soon as you try to create something new, as you did, it tastes really good… Thanks for this new recipe… and the pictures of the carrots are really nice.

    Have a nice evening

  2. Pingback: Mussels in Saffron Broth with Vegetable Oven Fries | At Home with Kim Vallee

  3. I love mussels! And carrot and parsnip fries? That sounds like it would be particularly lovely with the saffron broth. Thanks for the idea!

  4. mmmh mussels… i usually make mussels in spicy tomato sauce. i have to try this, it sounds like a very delicious change.

  5. Les moules frites, un grand classique chez nous, lorsqu’il en reste je les prépare au curry, la prochaine fois, je les ferai au safran
    Bonne journée

  6. great post and what a delicious meal. how long do you bake your fries for and at what temp?

  7. mussels are definitely one of my favorite dishes to eat. last weekend i had a huge mussel and clam craving and just made them like this for myself. in their own broth with some garlic, saffron and a touch of butter. and the fries sound fantastic too.

  8. Oh how beautiful! Mussels and saffron are so meant for each other. I thoroughly inspired and off to the market immediately to buy some! Saffron on to infuse!

  9. I have firstly tasted mussles in Bruxells and… I really felt in love with them!
    Bea and how do you make these oven baked fries? Just cut on thin slices and cook on a baking sheet?

  10. Before and after we’ve successfully fished out the final mussel from it’s broth bath we dunk loads of crusty bread. Our bellies full, smiles on our faces. It begs for a refill of red, followed by a lengthy discussion of the fabulous meal we’ve just shared.

  11. I love mussels and saffron. Can’t see how the combo can miss. great photographs 🙂

  12. Love mussels and saffron. Can’t see how the combo can miss. great photographs 🙂

  13. I love the photographs. I especially love the way you arranged the oven-baked fries. The Boston Globe is lucky to have you.

  14. I just made mussels for dinner two nights ago, with oven baked french fries. I like the idea of using saffron I usually just flavor the broth with shallots and pernod. The other night I didn’t have any pernod on hand so I used vermouth and minced fennel bulb.
    I like the idea of making the oven fries with carrots and parsnips, I will try that next time!

  15. I agree with everyone here…I love mussels and fries too. A friend from Bordeaux introduced me to the amazing combo. Since then, I’ve gulped down my maybe not-so-fair share. I’ll never tire of this pairing!

  16. I’m ready to jet off to see your Seasons column, but I had to comment first. Love the carrot and parsnip combination!

    I discovered them when I was roasting them both for soup. They looked so tasty that I had to eat some straight off the roasting pan. What perfect flavors! Okay, off to your column. : )

  17. Mussels are one of my favorite dinners, and I’m always excited about finding a new recipe! I’ve been on a wine, cream and curry kick lately but I love the idea of the saffron!

  18. We always eat rice with mussels when I prepare them, but some years back I had them in Brussels with “frites” and at first thought it odd…. until I tasted them. Very good! Rice does, however, help with slurping up the sauce.

  19. All the combinations you’ve suggested are double yum!

    And yes the fries are simple. Sliced thinly, seasoned with garlic and thyme and cumin, even sometimes a little honey and baked. Then sprinkled with pepper and fleur de sel.

  20. I just made this recipe to the tee! I even baked some carrot fries tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin. The meal was delicious and got my friends’ stamp of approval.

    Thank you Béa

  21. Mussels are quickly becoming one of favorite meals. I just love playing with different flavors with them! This one sounds great and I’ll have to try carrot fries 🙂

  22. Please post the recipe for the parsnip and carrot frites.

    Thank you

  23. I discovered la tartine gourmande today and I cannot stop reading and looking at your wonderful pictures!
    You are Super!

  24. This recipe looks sensational. Your photography is so inspiring. My favorite is the top photo with the mussels. It is such a nice combination of colors and textures.

  25. i love cooking, and i reseach of any kind food , seafood the best one to me, thats why i see your photo, wow how so nice,i like to try it.