RECIPE: Classic Mussels

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Braai master Justin Bonello’s classic mussel recipe. He says: “I’ve been preparing mussels this way for years, and it never fails to impress or taste delicious.”


Justin Bonello

  • 1 kg fresh mussels
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • A couple of big knobs butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • A couple of chillies, seeded and chopped


  1. If you harvest your own mussels and want to get rid of all the sand and grit, soak them in fresh seawater for a couple of hours and they’ll spit out the sand.
  2. Put the mussels into a potjie pot, add a splash of white wine and the fresh parsley, put the lid on and place onto the coals. Let the mussels steam until they pop open, then take them off the heat immediately.
  3. Spoon all the mussels into a separate bowl and keep the juice in the pot. Check through the mussels and toss out those that didn’t open up – unless you’re planning seafood poisoning for dessert (chances are that if they didn’t open, then they’re dead).
  4. Remove the mussels from their shells and it’s time to add the three things that are going to make these mussels out of this world – butter, garlic and lemon. I like to do three variations so choose one then do the following:

Variation 1: Melt the butter in a potjie, add the garlic, a little bit of that reserved water and the mussels and heat through. Serve.

Variation 2: Melt the butter in a potjie, add lemon, a splash of the reserved water and black pepper, then the mussels. Heat through and serve.

Variation 3: Melt the butter, add a splash of reserved water and chopped chilli (as much or as little as you like) stir though the mussels and serve.


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