Saffron Mussels Recipe with Spinach

Mussels with saffron and spinach (mejillones con azafrán y espinacas)

  • serves 4-6 as part of a mixed tapas
  • Easy

Trade in your usual moules mariniere for this pepped-up Spanish recipe for mussels with saffron and spinach that's ready in just 30 minutes. Cook it for a dinner for two, or serve as part of a mixed tapas



  • spinach 150g
  • olive oil
  • dry white wine 4 tbsp
  • onions 2, finely chopped
  • bay leaves 4
  • celery stick 1, finely chopped (optional)
  • thyme a few sprigs
  • black peppercorns 10
  • mussels 1kg, cleaned 
  • butter 1 tbsp
  • saffron strands 2 pinches
  • crème fraîche 250g
  • crusty bread to serve


  • Step 1

    Wash the spinach, drain and then wilt it in a pan with a little olive oil. Set aside.

  • Step 2

    Pour the wine into a large heavy-based pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the onions, bay leaves, celery, thyme and peppercorns and bring to a simmer.

  • Step 3

    Now tip in the mussels and cover the pan, keeping it over a medium heat. Shake the pan now and then. Check to see that the mussels have opened after about 5 minutes and, when they are all open, tip the lot into a colander set over a bowl to catch the stock. Discard any mussels that have refused to open. Remove the flesh from some of the mussels and discard these shells.

  • Step 4

    Wipe the pan and return it to the heat. Melt the butter and add the saffron, crème fraîche, the mussel liquor, and season. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, then return the spinach and the mussels. Cook for a minute to warm the mussels through, and serve immediately in warmed bowls with crusty bread.

    Trust olive

    Jeannie Chesterton trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London. For over 30 years she has lived in Andalucia with her husband, Sam. They are co-authors of the Buenvino Cookbook: Recipes from our Farmhouse in Spain (£20, Bene Factum).