Mussels with White Wine, Garlic, and Chile

Cayenne is a red or green hot chili pepper used to flavor chile food dishes and is also used for medicinal purposes. Named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, it is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, and others.

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1 oz butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 shallots (green onions), finely sliced
1 long red chile, seeded and finely chopped
2 lb black mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
¾ cup white wine
½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped


Heat a wide pan (one with a lid) over medium-low heat and melt the butter. Add the garlic, shallots and chile and sauté for a minute or two until everything softens but does not brown.

Turn the heat up to medium high and add the mussels and wine. Put the lid on the pot and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes. Most (if not all) of the mussels will open – throw away any that don’t.

Remove the pan from the heat. Toss through the parsley and serve to the middle of the table in the pan.

This begs to be served with a fresh crusty baguette to mop up the delicious broth.

Cook’s Note: If you can, buy living mussels from your fishmonger.

Serves 2 as main course, or 4 as appetizer.