Mussels in Fennel Saffron Wine Sauce

Mussels in Fennel Saffron Wine Sauce
Mussels in Fennel Saffron Wine Sauce
Please Note: This post is sponsored by 90+ Cellars. All opinions are our own.

We have another delicious food and wine pairing to share with you with these buttery steamed Mussels in Fennel Saffron Wine Sauce paired with a newly released Albariño from 90+ Cellars. If you love mussels like us, we know you will adore this pairing!

You’ve probably had some mussels in a buttery white wine broth at some point that you loved. In our case, that is true, but we encounter more dishes that are, unfortunately, on the bland side. So, our mission was to make a mussel dish that could rival all of the best ones we’ve tried and one that we would really get excited about any time we made it! Well, we believe we accomplished this goal with this recipe for Mussels in Fennel Saffron Wine Sauce.

What makes this Fennel Saffron Wine Sauce for Steamed Mussels special?  

What we love about this dish is that the broth has a little more consistency than a plain, boring jus. It is packed with flavor, which is perfect for the baguette or country bread you MUST have for soaking up the sauce.

There are also some nice bits of shallot, garlic, and fennel that have just enough texture to give a bit of body to the sauce.

But the thing that really sets this apart is the addition of a pinch of saffron. The whole dish just looks incredible when the saffron infuses with the buttery wine and mussel broth. The taste and aroma are just better than any we have found and since mussels are not too difficult to find and rather inexpensive, this is a go-to dish!

Steamed Mussels
Mussels are easy to prepare and are delicious steamed in a white wine butter sauce with fennel and saffron.

How to Prepare the Mussels

Cleaning mussels is not a daunting chore, but I know people shy away from it. There are just a few steps, so don’t worry about it.

  1. Just wash the shells and scrape off the “beard” with a paring knife.
  2. As a rule, if the mussel shell is broken, throw it away.
  3. If, the mussel is open and won’t close when you tap on the shell, throw it away.
  4. Finally, if the mussel stays completely closed when cooked (usually there is at least one or two that do this), then throw it away.

That’s it for preparing the mussels for this Mussels in Fennel Saffron Wine Sauce recipe! And they taste so amazing, these little steps are completely worth the minimal effort.

Wine Pairing

We are constantly impressed by the 90+ Cellars wines we have tried, and believe us, we’ve tried MANY! This is actually one of the few wine club subscriptions we continue to use, and it is well worth it!

We’ve enjoyed many different Spanish Albariño wines and always love the fresh, crisp notes of these wines coming from the coastal wine region of Northwest Spain.

Albariño wines really shine when paired with seafood, and the 90+ Cellars Lot 174 Albariño is the perfectly fruity and citrusy sip for our Mussels in Fennel Saffron Wine Sauce recipe. The aromas are reminiscent of summer stone fruits with a hint of tropical fruit like pineapple. On the palate, these fruits linger, along with the perfect amount of acidity. We absolutely love this wine, and hope you give it a try!

Head over to 90+ Cellars to find the Lot 174 Albariño!

90+ Cellars Albariño
90+ Cellars Lot 174 Albariño is crisp with aromas and notes of stone fruits and pineapple! It pairs perfectly with steamed mussels!

And check out some of our other wine pairings with 90+ Cellars wines


We hope you enjoy this recipe for Mussels in Fennel Saffron Wine Sauce! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

If you like this recipe, check out some of our other popular seafood recipes below:

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Mussels in Fennel Saffron Wine Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Angela and Mark Course: MainCuisine: Italian, FrenchDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time




  • 2 lbs. 2 (or around 1kg) live mussels

  • 2 cups 2 (475ml) dry white wine

  • 1 pinch 1 of saffron threads

  • 1 1 bay leaf

  • 2 Tbsp 2 (27g) olive oil

  • 1 1 large shallot (50g), finely chopped

  • 1 cup 1 (125g) small-diced fennel bulb

  • 1 tsp 1 kosher salt

  • 4 4 cloves (8g) minced garlic

  • 1 pinch 1 of red pepper flakes

  • 1 pinch 1 of black pepper

  • 1/2 1/2 lemon (20-25g), juice only

  • 10 Tbsp 10 (142g) unsalted butter – cubed

  • 1 Tbsp 1 finely chopped parsley


  • Clean the mussels by scrubbing the shells under running water with a kitchen brush. Remove any beards on the mussels with a paring knife. Set aside in a bowl in a cool place or in the refrigerator until ready. Measure the wine and put the saffron and bay leaf in the wine and set aside.
  • In a large, high sided skillet or pan, heat the olive oil on medium low heat. Add the shallot and fennel and gently sauté over medium-low to low heat until fennel is tender – about 12-15 minutes – stirring occasionally.
  • Next, add the garlic, stir, and sauté for two minutes. Turn the heat to high and add the wine with the soaking saffron and bay leaf as well as the red and black pepper. Bring to a boil and add the mussels and cover.
  • The mussels will take between 3 and 5 minutes to open. Once they do, turn the heat to low and remove the mussels with tongs to a bowl. Discard any mussels that did not open during the steaming, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside.
  • Once the mussels have been removed, turn the heat up to medium and reduce the sauce for about 5-7 minutes. Then, remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Keeping it off the heat, stir in the butter, a cube at a time at the beginning, then two cubes at a time once half of the butter is in the sauce.
  • Once the butter has all been incorporated, return the mussels to the pan and heat on very low heat to warm the mussels back up if needed (*do not boil the sauce*).
  • Remove the mussels to a serving bowl, sprinkle with some parsley and serve with bread to soak up the sauce.

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