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Lopez Island Mussel Soup With Saffron and Cream

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“From The Best Northwest Places Cookbook (Volume 1).”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 cups white wine (such as lopez island madeleine angevine)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3 lbs mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 generous pinch saffron thread (preferably spanish, steeped for 15 minutes in 2 tablespoons warm water)
  • 6 leaves spinach or 6 leaves sorrel, cut into fine ribbons, for garnish


  1. Combine the wine and garlic in a kettle over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the mussels, cover, and steam until they begin to open, about 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer opened mussels to a bowl, using a slotted spoon.
  4. Continue steaming until all have opened, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  5. Discard any mussels that do not open.
  6. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  7. As soon as the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and put them in the cooking liquid.
  8. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
  9. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  10. Add the cream and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  11. Add the saffron and its steeping liquid along with the mussels and their cooking liquid.
  12. Bring the soup to a gentle boil, and serve hot, garnishing each bowl with fine ribbons of spinach or sorrel.

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