Loyal Nana's Mussel Recipe with Italian Salami for One

 Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Buying seafood used to be super intimidating for me. Figuring out if it is fresh or not, being afraid of overcooking it, knowing what not to cook, figuring out what flavor best goes with which seafood. I was comfortable cooking what I knew as a Dominican young adult: rice, beans, and chicken, or steak. At age 21, I started shopping for and cooking salmon. I would go to the market, identify a good size and amount, bring it home, season it with a little salt and pepper, and stick a rosemary twig straight through the thick of the salmon. I would then place it into a pan with butter or olive oil and cook it for three minutes on each side. BUT we are not here for a salmon recipe after all...

Years later, I have my own beautiful home in the South Bronx with my incredibly handsome longtime partner and not only do we love serving fresh and delicious seafood to our guests, but we enjoy cooking it together. Shrimp skin needs to be removed, one by one for a dinner for four, mussels have to be washed and scrubbed, the clams too. The oysters need to be chucked. We love this because it gives us time for flowing conversation where we are talking and listening with one another while deeply focused on what we are doing with our hands in the hub of our home, the kitchen. 

I love a good recipe. That is really how I got more comfortable cooking seafood. Recipes from the internet and The Barefoot Contessa on TV. Watching a recipe on TV is amazing especially when you get up and get a pen and a pad. I've always liked a step by step (with photos) from my internet recipes so I created this one on mussels with photos! The best part is this serves one! If you want to cook it for two, double up the ingredients and the number of mussels used here. 

Bon appetit!


Two cloves minced garlic

olive oil 

one shallot


shredded salami or prochiutto 

1 Scotch bonnet

1 cup of white wine

A half cup of coconut milk

Place your newly purchased mussels in a colander in the sink and run water over them, using your hands or toothbrush, clean off debris like seaweed, sand, barnacles, or mud spots that could be on the shell. When the mussels are alive their shells are closed. While washing your mussels, if you come across a few that are open, throw them out. Put the rest of the mussels aside.


Heat up enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the deep pan


Add minced garlic until they brown 30-60 sec


Add shallots


Add in shredded salami (or prosciutto).  

Ours was from Little Italy in the Bronx.


Start adding the mussels to the pan


Once all of the mussels are in the pan, add in the white wine.

We used the Barrymore Wines pinot grigio.


Drop in a full scotch bonnet and add in the coconut milk


As you'll notice, the mussel will start opening and that is how you know they are ready. If any mussel is still closed, they are no good. Throw them out!


Serve immediately and go ahead and drink the rest of that white wine used in the mussels.