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Steamed mussels in Pastis recipe

Katherine Martinelli is an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer who contributes regularly to publications on three continents. She recently released her first cookbook, Puff Pastry at Brunch: 10 Sweet and Sa...

An aphrodisiac mussels recipe fit for Cupid

A known aphrodisiac, mussels steamed in aromatic Pastis make for the ultimate Valentine’s Day dish. Aphrodite herself would approve.

An aphrodisiac mussels recipe fit for Cupid

Many types of seafood have long been considered aphrodisiacs because of the goddess Aphrodite's association with the sea. Recent scientific research has proven that mussels, oysters and clams actually contain a compound that triggers something much like a natural aphrodisiac.

So this Valentine's Day, up the romance with this simple but restaurant-worthy mussels recipe. It is sure to impress your loved one and comes together in under half an hour. Mussels are steamed in white wine and Pastis, a French anise-flavored spirit. If you don't have Pastis on hand, other similar liquors like Sambuca, arak or raki can be substituted. Be sure to serve the mussels with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the delicious juices!

Mussels steamed in Pastis recipe

Serves 2


  • 6 shallots, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 4 ounces white wine
  • 8 ounces Pastis
  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Saute the shallots and garlic in oil until soft.
  2. Add the wine and Pastis and cook over high heat until reduced slightly.
  3. Add the mussels (if frozen, you can put them in right out of the freezer). Stir, cover and cook over high heat for just a few minutes, until shells open.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mussels and set them aside in a large bowl.
  5. Add the cream to the pot with the rest of the liquid and simmer until reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the mussels back in and throw in the fresh cilantro. Toss to combine and serve with lots of toasted bread to soak up the sauce.

More aphrodisiac foods

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Sensual foods for Valentine's Day
Why food matters on Valentine's Day

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