Denise Cowburn-Levy’s Cape West Coast creamy mussel pot

One of Cape Town’s greatest assets is our diverse scenery and culture. It doesn’t take long to travel from these exhilarating city sights to the charming undiscovered peace of the Cape West Coast. It’s home to unspoiled beaches, astounding carpets of wildflowers in spring, and abundant fishing villages.

Last month we shared a prawn linguini recipe in celebration of the month of love, from Denise Cowburn-Levy’s cookbook Around My Table. This month, we’re sharing another to inject some fresh flavours into your weekly menu. This classic seaside dish is a one pot wonder with real wow factor, and with these easy steps we’re confident you’ll love recreating it in the comfort of your own home.


Denise Cowburn-Levy’s Cape West Coast creamy mussel pot


  • 2 kg live mussels, cleaned Naturally we recommend Cape Fish's fresh mussels
  • 6 stalks thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 bouquet garnish of parsley, thyme and bay leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine Make it a good one!
  • 2 cups cream
  • A handful of parsley leaves, coarsely chopped


  • If your mussels have not already been cleaned, you’ll need to do this first (luckily, Cape Fish has a mussel cleaning service for R15 per kg).
  • Put a cup of white wine and 6 sprigs of thyme into a large pot over a high heat and bring to the boil.
  • Add the cleaned mussels, giving the pot a good shake every now and then to allow them to open.
  • If any mussels don’t open, then discard them.
  • Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon, and strain the liquid they were cooked in, as this can contain sand, and keep for the sauce.
  • Soften the garlic and shallots or onions in the butter in the same pan over a medium heat until well done.
  • Add the strained cooking liquid and the bouquet garnish of herbs, and turn up the heat to let the sauce reduce by a third.
  • Remove the bouquet garnish with the herbs, add the cream and reduce again till slightly thickened, taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Add the mussels back into the pot, removing a few halves of the shells.
  • Add the parsley and remove from the heat.
  • Spoon into large warmed bowls and serve with loads of crusty warm bread for dunking.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!