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Mussels with Sake-Ginger Butter

October 28, 2010

By Kath Dedon


Tom Douglas has a recipe for Wok-Fried Mussels with Sake-Ginger Butter in his first cookbook, Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen. At the time of its publication (2000), Tom was already a celebrity chef and the owner of Dahlia Lounge, Etta’s Seafood, and Palace Kitchen.

Since then he has added Dahlia Bakery, Lola, Serious Pie(pie as in “pizza pie” – the best in Seattle), and Seatown to Tom Douglas Restaurants. He has been a major contributor to the Seattle food scene and an active member of the community for over 30 years.

When I noticed that Metropolitan Market was featuring mussels at a great price, I decided to try Tom’s recipe. He said a large skillet with a lid would work just as well as a wok, so that’s what I used.

The mussels were fantastic, especially with a piece of crusty French bread to mop up the buttery sauce! Mussels with Sake-Ginger Butter served with a salad and bread is a quick, fabulous dinner for 2.





Mussels with Sake-Ginger Butter

(Adapted from Tom Douglas’ recipe in Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen)


(print the recipe)


Serves 2 as a main course (serves 4 – 6 as an appetizer)



2 pounds mussels

¼ cup peeled and julienned fresh ginger

2 dried red chiles (like chiles de arbol or piquins)

½ cup sake

½ cup julienned green onions, white and green parts

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice




1. Wash and scrub the mussels with a stiff brush. Pull off the beard. (Grasp it and pull it down towards the hinge.) Discard any mussels that will not close; they are dead.

The “beard” on a mussel


Cutting the sliced ginger into julienned strips

The green onions, cut into julienned strips

2. Put two wide soup bowls in the oven and preheat the oven to 200˚.

3. Assemble all of the ingredients for the recipe.

Sake, green onions, ginger, chiles de arbol, and lime

4. Heat a large skillet over high heat.

5. When the pan is hot, add the mussels, ginger, peppers, and sake to the pan. Cover and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, until the mussels have opened.

6. Add the green onions to the pan and then immediately remove the mussels and divide them between the two bowls in the oven to keep them warm. Leave the liquid in the pan.

7. Add the butter and lime juice to the pan and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted and blended in. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed.

8. Pour the sauce over the mussels in the bowls and serve immediately.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    October 28, 2010 3:12 pm

    This looks fantastic!

  2. janis33 permalink
    October 28, 2010 3:22 pm

    OHMYGOD. Mussels are one of my very favorite and this looks fantastic. Now I want to have mussels for dinner but all we are having is stupid chicken.

    • October 28, 2010 4:28 pm

      You’ll have to try this version some time soon, Janis! (I’m sure your chicken will be delicious. I do love chicken.)

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