Whiskey Mussels en Papillote for Two

Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez | All Roads Lead to the Kitchen

Looking for a different sort of St. Paddy's Day dish this year? These whiskey mussels en papillote get a good sousing of Irish whiskey before steaming in the oven, and don't forget your crusty bread for mopping up the juices!

Whiskey Mussels en Papillote Photo

Is it just me, or do the places that you visit become a part of you? Since St. Paddy's Day is almost here, let's use Ireland as an example.

I have always looked forward to St. Patrick's Day, but in the way that a non-Irish American girl with an appreciation for food and culture does. More years than not, I've made Corned Beef and Cabbage. If I get a good enough head start, I'll even cure my own brisket so that we have homemade corned beef. I've been known to eat Reubens all week long, just to get in the spirit.

Whiskey Mussels en Papillote Picture

Beef and Guinness Stew? Oh yes. Champ? You bet. Bangers and Mash? Of course! Don't forget the Soda Bread, the Guinness Beef and Veg Hand Pies, and the Cabbage and Bacon Soup. But then it happened. In 2012, I hopped onto an airplane for the very first time in my life, and 8-1/2 hours later, I landed in Dublin.

I was specifically there for a tour of Irish Whiskey distilleries, but you can bet that I was just as interested in the food as I was the whiskey. And guess what? I didn't have a single bowl of corned beef and cabbage. I didn't have a Reuben. I didn't even see a side of Champ. But the Guinness and Soda bread were plentiful.

Instead, I found myself making my way through the different varieties of Brown Bread, sipping whiskey, and eating lots and LOTS of seafood! Coming from the Midwest, fresh seafood is something that I only get when I travel to coastal regions (I didn't stay put in Dublin). Emphasis on the fresh. I take full advantage.

Whiskey Mussels en  Papillote Image

From smoked fish at breakfast, to fish chowders at lunch, to shellfish pulled from the ocean moments before we ate dinner, I ate my fair share of local sea offerings. Whiskey and seafood. Seafood and Whiskey. Those are my two Irish-identifiers. Well, those and the big, beautiful slices of Irish bacon.

So now, when St. Paddy's Day rolls around and the corned beef and cabbage shelves are in high demand, my thoughts turn to the Fishmonger and the Master Distiller. These mussels are wrapped in foil (or parchment paper) after the addition of some flavoring and good whiskey sousing. Be sure to lean over the parcel before slicing it open to get a good wafting of Ireland in your nose!

Whiskey Mussels en Papillote Recipe

    2 Servings


  • 2 pounds Live Mussel, debearded and scrubbed
  • 1 medium Shallot, finely diced
  • 1/4 ounce Dried Tarragon, fresh sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest, approximiately 1 lemon's worth
  • 1/4 cup Irish Whiskey, such as Bushmills
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground
For the Vinaigrette:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Tarragon Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Whole Grain Mustard
  • dash Sea Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Lay out two long sheets (~24 inches each) of heavy duty foil; fold each one in half. Set half of the mussels on each piece of foil, then cup the edges of the foil to hold everything in for now.
  3. Scatter half of the diced shallots over each portion. Pull the leaves from the tarragon sprigs and scatter over the mussels, along with the lemon zest. Pour half of the whiskey and olive oil over each portion. Sprinkle each with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
  4. Bring the edges of the foil up and fold to form a packet that encompasses everything inside. Set the packets in a baking dish or on a baking sheet (to catch any juices that escape). Slide into preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until all of the shells have opened (discard any that do not open).
  5. In the meantime, combine all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small jar with a lid and shake hard to combine.
  6. Carefully open each parcel (the steam will be hot!). Set each parcel on a deep-sided serving plate or shallow bowl and open just before you eat, letting the steam waft up into your nose.  You could also transfer each portion directly to the serving vessel. Shake up the vinaigrette again, and pour over the mussels before diving in, preferably with some crusty bread for mopping up the juices and a dram of whiskey to accent the flavors. Slàinte!


Source: Recipe inspired by Manger
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Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez

About Heather

Heather is a major foodie from way back. She went to school in Michigan (Go Spartans!), and now lives in Indiana. She blogs about garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, sultry cocktails, Mexican food and more on All Roads Lead to the Kitchen. Around here she's best known as our Seafood and Fish Fanatic, and boy are we excited!