Mussels with Pancetta and Crème Fraîche


The luscious broth for these plump mussels from chef Jimmy Bannos, Jr., is creamy, tangy and lightly scented with fresh marjoram. Slideshow:  Recipes with Mussels 

Mussels with Pancetta and Crème Fraîche
Photo: © John Kernick
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped

  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped

  • 1/2 fennel bulb, chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 3/4 cup dry white wine

  • 48 mussels, scrubbed

  • 1 1/4 cups fish stock, or 3/4 cup clam juice plus 1/2 cup of water

  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves

  • 2 tablespoons marjoram leaves

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper

  • Kosher salt

  • Crusty bread, for serving


  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderately low heat until crisp, 5 minutes. Add the onion, celery, fennel and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in the wine and simmer over moderately high heat until almost all of the liquid is evaporated, 3 minutes. Add the mussels and stock and bring to a simmer; cover and cook until the mussels open, 4 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche.

  2. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, parsley, marjoram and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and transfer to bowls. Serve with crusty bread.

Suggested Pairing

Brisk Italian white.

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