You Too Can Make Restaurant-Worthy Mussels in No Time

Inexpensive, easy-to-find and super quick to cook, mussels can be a busy cook’s go-to solution for getting dinner on the table.

Below is my recipe for Mussels in a Coconut Broth, which I hope you’ll love. But once you learn the basics of how to handle mussels, you’ll see how versatile they are. Before you know it, you’ll be creating your own recipes with any number of flavorings.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Always buy your mussels from a reputable vendor who stores them at 32-35* in their original sack (with holes in the containers or bags to allow oxygen to flow). Upon request, the vendor should also be able to show you the dated shellfish shipper’s tag.
  2. At home, store your mussels in the refrigerator in an open container covered with a clean, damp cloth for a maximum of 2 days.
  3. Before cooking, soak the mussels in water and 1 tbsp of salt for approximately 20 minutes to allow the mussels to release any sand/grit that is stored inside the shell. Then wash the mussels under cold running water, scrub the shells to remove any dirt and pull off the beard (the thread that is attached to the outside of the shell – simply pull it off with your fingers).
  4. Inspect the mussels to ensure that all the shells are closed. If you find an open shell, gently tap it and it might close up. If it doesn’t, discard that mussel as it is dead.
  5. In a large pot, saute your aromatics of choice (shallots, onions, leeks, garlic, etc…) in a bit of fat (oil, butter, bacon fat, etc…)
  6. Add a liquid (stock, wine, liquor, etc…) and bring to a simmer
  7. Stir in your mussels, cover the pot with a lid and cook for a few minutes until all the shells have opened. If you discover any that haven’t opened, discard them as they are dead.


Now that you know how to work with mussels, how might you make your own recipe? How about you:

Substitute clams?

  • Using the very same technique, you can make any kind of clams!!

Change up your your aromatics and liquids?

  • Aromatics such as onions, shallots, scallions, leeks, garlic and chiles all work
  • Any liquid works and each adds a different flavoring: beer, wine, liquor, chicken stock, tomato sauce, etc…

Diversify your flavors?

  • For a classic French twist, use butter, shallots, garlic, white wine and parsley
  • For a Spanish version, use chorizo, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes and paprika
  • For Sicilian flair, add extra garlic, tomatoes and fresh hot chiles

You get the idea… Now make your own recipes!

Mussels in a Coconut Broth


  • 2 tbsp – Canola oil
  • 6 – Garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp – Ginger, minced
  • 1 – Jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • ¼ cup – Pernod liqueur
  • 3 tbsp – Fresh lime juice
  • 1 – 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, stirred
  • Salt and ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 3 lbs – Mussels (cleaned, de-bearded and closed)
  • Mint (for garnish)


  1. In a deep pot, heat oil and add garlic, ginger, and jalapeño and cook over low heat until ingredients are soft
  2. Add Pernod, bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes
  3. Add coconut milk and lime juice and bring back to a simmer
  4. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Add mussels and stir into broth
  6. Cook with covered lid until all the mussels open – discard any mussels that don’t open as they are dead
  7. Place mussels in a bowl with the liquid and garnish with chopped mint
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