For the Love of Shellfish

Served as a tapas dish with drinks or as a main course, mussels roasted with potatoes and chiles pack a spicy punch.

When they’re available, small fingerling potatoes are perfect for this recipe. Otherwise small red or white potatoes work well, cut into smaller pieces as needed for even cooking. To temper the heat of the chiles, you can remove the seeds from the slices. You can also use a milder chile instead, such as Anaheim. This can be served in small portions as a sort of tapas offering with drinks, or for two as a main course with sautéed zucchini or another green vegetable alongside. Makes two main courses or six appetizer servings.


12 ounces fingerling or other small potatoes, scrubbed

2 to 3 medium jalapeños, trimmed and cut into 1⁄4-inch slices (seeded if you like)

2 tablespoons mild olive oil

1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

21⁄2 pounds live mussels, scrubbed and debearded


Preheat the oven to 475ºF.

Depending on the size and shape of the potatoes you’re using, cut them into pieces as needed: larger fingerlings in half lengthwise and/or across into pieces about 11⁄2 inches long; round potatoes in half or quarters. Small fingerlings or little “nugget” potatoes can be cooked as is.

Put the potatoes in a steamer rack in a medium saucepan set above a couple of inches of water. Cover, bring the water to a boil, and steam until the potatoes are about half cooked: a paring knife should pierce with a little resistance, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the steamer and set aside to cool and dry.

Combine the potatoes and jalapeño slices in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and drizzle
the oil over, then add the salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Gently toss well so the vegetables are evenly coated in oil. Spread them in a relatively even layer and roast until the potatoes are partly browned and the jalapeños are mostly tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and add the mussels in a relatively even layer.

Return the baking dish to the oven and roast until the mussels have opened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Scoop the mussels (discarding any that did not open), potatoes, and jalapeños into shallow bowls, spoon the cooking liquids over, and serve right away.

Excerpted from Shellfish by Cynthia Nims (Sasquatch Books, 2022). Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Share The Inspiration