Recipe from Roots: The Definitive Compendium by Diane Morgan

(Serves 3 as a main course, 4 to 6 as a first course)

As it turns out, mussels and burdock root are a natural pairing, delivering an incredibly savory, briny flavor to this dish—a true umami taste. Buy fresh, sweet, plump mussels from a trusted fish purveyor. Once home, spread them out in a large, shallow baking dish, cover them with damp paper towels and then loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. I always scrub and debeard the mussels right before I steam them. While you are shopping, buy a loaf of crusty bread for sopping up the delicious sauce.


2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz burdock root, scrubbed, trimmed, and cut on a sharp diagonal into slices ⅛ in thick
¾ cup thinly sliced shallots
½ cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, blotted dry and cut lengthwise into thirds
2 fresh thyme springs
1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 lb mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 cup dry white wine
¼ cup heavy whipping cream


In a large, deep frying pan with a tight-fitting lid, melt the butter over medium heat and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Add the burdock root and shallots and sauté, stirring frequently, until the shallots just begin to turn golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, salt, and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute longer. Increase the heat to medium high and add the mussels and wine. Cover and cook until all of the mussels have opened, about 5 minutes.

Uncover the pan and add the cream. Give a quick stir to blend it in, then bring the liquid to a simmer and remove from the heat. Divide the mussels and cooking liquid among warmed bowls, discarding any mussels that failed to open. Serve immediately.