As Valentine’s Day approaches, the question in many restaurant kitchens is how to add flair to holiday often conceptualized by trite greeting cards and stale chocolate bonbons. Help!

Have no fear for Spain, that country linked forever to romance, has the perfect answer: Mussels (Mejillones) a la Galicia, a memorable but easy to make shellfish dish accented by an eggless aioli as only the Spanish make it.

And that’s enough to make any professional chef yell, “Ole!”

Mejillones a la Galicia 


  • 4-6 cloves of Spanish Roja red garlic
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste 
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 celery ribs, minced (1/2 cup)
  • 3 pounds large mussels, debearded and scrubbed
  • 1/2 bunch chives, cut into 1-inch lengths


  1. Add garlic and salt to blender.
  2. Blend into a fine paste.
  3. With blender running, slowly add olive oil until all oil is added and sauce is emulsified.
  4. In a large pot, combine the wine, shallots and celery and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the mussels, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mussels open, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
  7. Remove 1 shell from each mussel.
  8. Arrange the mussels in a single layer on diner’s platter.
  9. Spoon aioli sauce over each mussel and garnish with chives.
  10. Serve warm.