Skillet Mussels With Rosemary, Lavender and Lime 2.000

Renee Comet for The Washington Post; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick

One Pan Jul 27, 2017

Five ingredients here, and you don't even need a pot lid to cook this simple and fragrant concoction. The end result gets even better when you cook it over a wood fire.

Serve with crusty bread.

Storage Notes: The mussels you buy should be glistening. Immerse them in a bowl of water and ice cubes for 30 minutes before you cook them; lift them out of the water to avoid reintroducing any grit. If you’re not going to cook them right away, rinse them in very cold water and refrigerate in a loosely covered bowl. Chilled mussels should be shut tightly; if any of them are not, or have broken or cracked shells, discard them. Next step: Transfer the mussels to a dry bowl, cover them loosely with a damp towel and refrigerate.

Where to Buy: Choose a culinary lavender that has complex floral notes, such as Hidcote, Buena Vista and Betty’s Blue. Find fresh at farmers markets or plant nurseries, or order dried lavender (on the stem) online.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2 servings

  • 2 pounds mussels, impeccably fresh and debearded (see headnote)
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 small handful fresh lavender (see headnote)
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 limes, each cut in half


Heat a large, dry cast-iron skillet over high heat. Once it's quite hot, add the mussels, spreading them in a single layer. Toss the lavender and rosemary on the mussels. Cook, undisturbed and uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the mussels begin to open their shells.

Scatter cubes of the butter around the pan; as soon as you hear them sizzling and see them start to smoke, shake the pan to distribute the melted butter. Continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, moving the pan, until the mussels are fully open. Remove from the heat.

Squeeze the lime halves over the mussels. Serve right away, in the skillet.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine," by Erin French (Clarkson Potter, 2017).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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