Back Pocket Recipe: White Wine Miso Mussels

This is my favorite beach house or summer vacation recipe. It’s inexpensive, quick to make, yet feels indulgent and fancy. You can customize the broth to your liking or whatever you find in the pantry.

It’s even relatively healthy (mussels are really high in selenium). You can make a big pot, warm up some bread, and throw together a green salad in less than 30 minutes. Perfect after a long day in the sun.

Just avoid a few common mistakes and this recipe will have looking like a 5-star chef.

1. Gotta clean them

Run them under cold water. If there’s a furry beard, pull it out and cut it off with kitchen shears or a paring knife. Most important, discard any that don’t close when tapped (gently) against the counter.

2. Don’t skimp on the sauce

You could in theory just steam the mussels in their own liquid but then what would you do with the bread? Use your imagination and build up a base. It will both add flavor to the mussels and also give you a great tasting way to eat that bread.

3. Don’t boil them

A rolling boil is not the way to cook mussels, not ones that taste good, at least. You are looking for a good simmer. Low and slow is almost as bad as the rolling boil. Use a big pot, the wider and bigger the better. The more the mussels are stacked up the longer they will take to cook.

4. Keep the lid on

You’re going to need to stir the mussels. Try to do it just once or twice to minimize the loss of hot steam. A quick stir about halfway through and then get the lid back on.

See also:   4 Pizza Recipes to Use Up the CSA Box

5. One final check

You threw out some duds when you were cleaning the mussels but some might have slipped through the cracks. Pick through the cooked mussels and if any mussel failed to open after steaming, discard.


White Wine Miso Mussels

Category: Back Pocket Recipes, Cooking

White Wine Miso Mussels


  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp white miso
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup seafood stock (or veggie stock)
  • 5 pounds mussels, cleaned
  • 2 teaspoons parsley leaves


  1. Heat butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add miso and stir for 30 seconds.
  5. Add wine and stock, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add mussels cover, and reduce heat to medium. You don't want it to boil.
  7. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mussels open (discard any that do not open), 10–12 minutes. Pour into large serving bowl.
  8. Top with parsley and serve with crusty bread.