Loyal Nana's Mussel Recipe with Italian Salami for One

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Photo by Amanda Saviñón

Buying seafood used to be intimidating for me because of its short lifespan and its long list of rules: you can't leave it out of the fridge for too long... if you buy live seafood like mussels or lobster, you have to keep them submerged in water up until you are going to cook them. As soon as you put the seafood to the fire, you have to take it right back off because of how quickly it can overcook. I don't know about you, but these are entirely too many rules for someone who just wants to make a quick meal at home for one. 

I was comfortable cooking what I knew as a Dominican young adult: rice, beans, chicken, pork chop or steak even if it took longer to make. At 22, I started shopping for and cooking salmon. I would go to the market, identify a right 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. It was salmon that helped me get over my daunting of seafood fears. 

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 also enjoy cooking it together. Shrimp skin needs to be removed one by one for 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 staying focused on what we are doing with our hands in the hub of our home, the kitchen. 

These are all the very same things that inspired me to share this recipe with you. The best part is that this recipe serves one! If you plan to cook it for two, double up the ingredients.

Bon appetit!


Two cloves minced garlic

olive oil 

one shallot


shredded salami or prosciutto 

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.