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Mussels in Pernod Butter

Mussells in Pernod Butter

Pernod is an anise-flavored liqueur that imparts a distinct flavor to the butter in this mussel’s dish served as an appetizer. A small amount of Pernod goes a long way so once purchased, if you only use it for cooking, a bottle will last a long time. I also use Pernod when making Bouillabaisse, which produces final perfection in the flavoring of the classic Provencal Fish Stew. Pernod Butter freezes well and works in culinary combination with other dishes such as sliced onto hot sauteed or grilled salmon even chicken breast.

I first tasted something like this Mussels in Pernod Butter at the former Apropos Restaurant in Philadelphia years back offered as a menu item one season. Served on a heavy metal tray, mussels covered with bright green colored Pernod Butter, then topped with breadcrumbs on a bed of sea salt produced an unforgettable scent and unique flavor. Years later, I regretted not having written down the recipe. I am not even sure if Aliza Green was still the Executive Chef at the time.

Having my bottle of Pernod in stock that I use for the annual Bouillabaisse set my senses craving a tray of these delicious mussels and I thought it would be a perfect appetizer to share with you over the holiday season. Although any range of ingredients or fresh herbs may be a part of this original dish, this I do not know, I kept the recipe simple using just garlic and parsley in addition to the Pernod.

Making Pernod Compound Butter is quite easy using a food processor to blend the butter with the additional three ingredients. You can make Mussels in Pernod Butter in advance, cooking your mussels, loosening and removing them from the shells, then replacing them back into the shell so guests can easily fork them out. Once you cover each of the mussels with the butter, wrap them on a tray in freezer paper, and store in your freezer until ready to use.

Because of the gentle flavor and texture of mussels, I prefer not to freeze the finished tray any longer than a few days. You can defrost the mussels in your refrigerator the evening before use, top them with the bread crumbs just before putting them into the oven, bake them until warmed through, then broil them a couple of minutes until the breadcrumbs tops begin turning a golden color.

Hope you are enjoying your holiday season and that you are able to enjoy some new and interesting appetizer selections to share with family and friends, such as this Mussels in Pernod Butter. Enjoy.

Mussels in Pernod Butter

Mussels in Pernod Butter


  • For the Mussels
  • 3-4 pounds mussels, cleaned, see directions below
  • 2 cups white wine
  • For the Pernod Butter
  • 1 stick butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic,quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Pernod liqueur
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs for topping, approximately


  1. For the Mussels:
  2. Remove mussels from the storage bag, if not preparing the mussels right away, place into a long container and cover the mussels with ice
  3. When ready to clean mussels, rinse, then soak in cold water for at least fifteen or twenty minutes, discard any open mussels or those with broken shells
  4. Remove the beards by pulling from the sides of the mussel shells, re-rinse the mussels a second time
  5. Heat white wine in the bottom of a large heavy pan with a tight fitting lid, when near boiling, gently tumble the mussels into the heated wine and cover, cook for about three to four minutes then lift the lid gently stirring the mussels all about, if most of the mussels have already begun to open, cook another couple minutes for the other mussels to finish cooking then turn off heat
  6. Transfer cooked mussels to a baking tray, when cool enough to touch remove the top shells off the mussels and discard
  7. Gently loosen and pull out the cooked mussel then replace it back into its shell
  8. For the Mussel Butter:
  9. Drop the quartered garlic cloves into a food processor with the metal blade, quick pulse until garlic is a fine mince, add in the salt and fresh chopped parsley, pulse again
  10. Scrape in the butter pieces and pulse until the ingredients are thoroughly combined
  11. Pour Pernod through the feeder tube and pulse until the Pernod is blended with the butter mixture
  12. Transfer Pernod Butter to a small bowl using a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the processor bowl
  13. Assembly:
  14. When ready to serve mussels preheat oven to 400 degrees
  15. Spoon enough Pernod Butter on top of each mussel to completely cover the mussel and mostly cover the shell returning each dressed mussel back to the cookie sheet
  16. Lightly sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top of each mussel
  17. Place mussels into the oven and bake for five minutes, adjust the oven temperature to broil and cook for another three minutes or more until the breadcrumbs begin to golden slightly and the butter is fully melted
  18. Transfer finished Mussels to a platter or set on a bed of coarse sea salt, serve straight away





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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.