Mussels a la Sidra

For me, what makes a good mussel is the sauce; the kind were you ask for extra bread to soak it up and you almost want to sip it through a straw (or pour it over pasta). Two restaurant preparations come to mind that are/were outstanding. One from the former Cuchi Cuchi restaurant in Cambridge MA, which unfortunately didn’t make it through the first year of COVID-19. They served their mussels in a Thai style broth. I think I morned the loss of this restaurant the most. The other restaurant that comes to mind is one that we discovered accidentally this past Spring during COVID, the Boat House Waterfront Dinning in Tiverton RI. They serve their mussels in a delicious broth of white wine, shallots, pancetta, creme fraiche, herbs, and olive oil crostini.

After a week of heavy eating while vacationing in Edgartown, I wanted something light but tasty for dinner the first night back and decided to try to recreate something similar to the Boat House preparation….I didn’t have the mental energy to tackle what it meant to be “Thai” style. I also decided to omit the creme fraiche the first time around since I wanted to concentrate on the base flavors of the broth. I was really happy with how they came out, as was the fam.


  • mussels, washed and scrubbed clean ← I bought 2 small bags at Market Basket and it was more than enough for 3 people
  • 2-to-4 TBL butter ← amount depends on size of pot; you need enough to sauté the garlic & shallots!
  • 2-to-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, halved, seeded and finely chopped ← I used only ½ of the jalapeño but will use a whole one next time
  • chorizo, roughly chopped ← Market Basket sold a package sliced like salami
  • a dash of crushed red pepper flakes ← ¼ to ½ tsp
  • cups white wine ← I started with a cup but wanted more broth so I added more…it all depends on how many mussels you’re making and how much sauce you want.
  • ½-to-¾ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • a cluster of fresh vine ripened tomatoes ← I used golf ball sized
  • french baguette for soaking up sauce


  • Make sure the mussels are well cleaned before you start. Discard any that are open, slightly open or have cracked shells!
  • On medium to low heat, in a pot large enough to hold all the mussels, add your butter
  • As the butter starts to melt, add the garlic and stir to evenly coat.
  • Next add the shallot, jalapeño, crushed red pepper flakes and chorizo, stir frequently until shallots look softened
  • Add ½ the basil and stir
  • Add white wine, stir
  • Add mussels, stir
  • Add tomatoes on top of the mussels but DON’T stir
  • Sprinkle the rest of the basil on top of the mussels
  • Cover and let simmer until mussels start to open ← I’d check ever 2 to 3 minutes
  • Once the mussels start to open, stir them around to move top ones to bottom and bottom to top to make sure they are all opening ← some may not open so don’t wait for them all to be
  • Serve in a large deep bowl with all the broth

note: the chorizo is salty so don’t add any additional salt while cooking. If you omit the chorizo, you will probably want to add a dash.

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