Curried Mussels Appetizer

Easy to make - perfect for parties!

This elegant Curried Mussels Appetizer features mussels on the half shell nestled next to a tasty dab of curry sour cream sauce for dipping. 

Serve on trays with toothpicks, or as part of a larger buffet with small plates and forks.

This delicious but slightly unusual recipe for curried mussels is almost embarrassingly easy to make - but don't confess this to your guests! 

Best of all, since this appetizer is served cold, you can prepare the mussels and the sauce a day ahead, and assemble an hour before serving. 

How many mussels should you buy?

In the United States, most mussels are sold by the pound - but the number of mussels in a pound varies widely, based on the mussel's size.  Generally speaking, smaller mussels come from colder climates, such as Eastern Canada, and larger mussels come from warmer waters, such as the Mediterranean.

Here's what you'll usually find:

  • Small:  25-30 mussels per pound
  • Medium:  18-24 mussels per pound
  • Large:  10-15 mussels per pound

If you're serving mussels as a first course, provide about 1/2 pound per person.  As the main course, count on about 1 pound per person. 

When you're serving mussels as an appetizer, think about how many other appetizers you'll serve.  If you're planning 1-2 other appetizers before dinner, about 1/4 pound of mussels per person, or 4-6 medium mussels, should be the right amount - but you may want to prepare an extra pound or 2 just to be safe. 

Recipe for Curried Mussels Appetizer

Makes 36 - 48, using medium-size mussels

For steamed mussels:

Curry sauce ingredients:

  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped (both green and white parts)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • cayenne, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Put the mussels into a wide soup pot, pour the wine over them, and cover the pot.  Bring the wine to a boil over medium heat.  Shake the pot periodically to cook the mussels evenly.  After about 3 minutes, check to see if any are open - if so, take them out, and continue cooking and checking until all mussels are open.  Throw away any that don't open.  (More about how to cook mussels.)

Snap off the top shells and discard.  Arrange the mussels in the half shell on a tray or platter, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. 

To make the curry sauce, mix all of the curry sauce ingredients in a bowl, except for the cayenne and salt.  Add the cayenne and salt to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Up to an hour before serving, arrange the mussels on a serving tray.  Place about 1 teaspoon of the sauce in the shell next to the mussel, or on top of the mussel.  If you're not serving the mussels immediately, refrigerate them.

Serving suggestion

Serve the curried mussels appetizer with toothpicks, or small plates and forks.

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