Copycat Carrabba's mussels in lemon butter sauce

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Master Chef
Feb 20, 2011
I always double just the lemon butter sauce recipe and use it all just because I like it. Serve with a nice crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

4 C. mussels
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. chopped yellow onion
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
2 Tbsp. pernod (licorice- flavored liqueur from France) I use anisette since it comes in airline bottle size.
1 to 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Juice of 1/2 lemon (may need to eliminate)
3/4 C. Lemon Butter Sauce (recipe follows)

Soak mussels in well salted (like the ocean) cold water for several minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and remove “beard” (the little tuft of fibers protruding from the shell), either with a sharp knife or by pulling on it with a damp cloth. Rinse mussels again in cold water.

Heat olive oil in a 10-inch skillet; add mussels. Cover with another 10-inch skillet or a lid and cook until shells just begin to open, about 2 minutes. Remove top and add onion and garlic and toss. Cover pan again and cook for 1 minute. Remove top and add pernod, basil, lemon juice and lemon butter sauce. Return to flame for 30 to 45 seconds with top off skillet. Discard any mussels that did not open.
Serve in a deep bowl.

Makes 2 servings.


2 Tbsp. clarified butter (you’ll need about 1/2 stick butter; directions follow)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped yellow onion
2 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (cut down lemon juice)
2 Tbsp. dry white wine
Kosher salt
White pepper
2 Tbsp. cold butter

To clarify butter: Melt 1/2 stick butter over low heat. When melted, remove from heat and set aside for several minutes to allow the milk solids to settle to the bottom. Skim the clear (clarified) butter from the top and discard sediment. (This can be done ahead.)

To make sauce: Heat clarified butter, add onion and garlic and saute until transparent. Add lemon juice and white wine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes to reduce liquid. Remove from heat and swirl in cold butter until sauce is smooth and emulsified.
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Oh, I just realized I made personal notes regarding reducing amount of lemon juice. Obviously, there was too much for me, but I have no idea why I didn't give an amount. I'd start with 4 Tbsp in the sauce, taste and go from there.
Do you mean 4 cups or 4 pounds of mussels? Hope that's a typo! LOL

and the sauce - as posted is for the one meal? Then you double it - eg. 2 Tbsp clarified butter is now to be 4 Tbsp. correct?
Most mussels I get are farmed and have very little, if any, sand. So I do rinse thoroughly but I don't purge them.

Clams on the other hand I'm learning the hard way to purge... very annoying that grit/sand... :mad:
Do you mean 4 cups or 4 pounds of mussels? Hope that's a typo! LOL

and the sauce - as posted is for the one meal? Then you double it - eg. 2 Tbsp clarified butter is now to be 4 Tbsp. correct?
It's as copied from wherever I got it. Don't remember where as I've had the recipe for years. I think we buy 2 of the net bags they sell mussels in here. I'll have to look at them next time we go.

It's been a while since I made this. Craig isn't a huge fan of mussels, there's other seafood he would much rather eat first, so I don't remember how much sauce the recipe makes, whether it's 3/4 cup or more. I just remember I started doubling the sauce recipe.

For 2 meals, it's as written, except I double the lemon butter sauce as personal preference.
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