Mussels in Smoky Miso Broth

Time 25 minutes
Yields Serves 1
Miso and charred shallots add flavor and body to a rosé wine broth for steaming mussels in this dinner for one.
(Ben Mims / Los Angeles Times)
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If you want to feed two, simply double all the ingredients here, but give the mussels an extra minute or two to make sure they all cook through evenly. Mussels nowadays should already have their beards — fibers they use to attach themselves to rocks in the ocean — removed when you buy them, but if they haven’t been, simply pull them off by using your fingers to give them a firm tug. Before cooking, toss any mussels that don’t stay closed, especially when you tap on their shell; after cooking, toss any that don’t open — in both cases, those mussels are dead. And if you don’t have white miso, you can use red or brown miso, but use just 1 tablespoon since it will be stronger in flavor — or substitute the miso altogether with 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard.


Fill a large saucepan halfway with cold water, then stir in the salt until dissolved. Add the mussels to the water and let stand for 10 minutes to allow the mussels to push out any sand inside them. Use this time to gather and prep the rest of your ingredients.


Using your fingers like tongs, lift the mussels out of the pot without stirring or disturbing the bottom of the pot and transfer them to a colander. Rinse the mussels well, then let drain while you drain and rinse out and dry the pot. Discard any mussels that are open.


Place the pot over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add the shallot all at once, scattering in an even layer, then let cook, without stirring, until lightly blackened at the edges, 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Add the butter and stir it with the shallot until it’s completely melted. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in the miso and cook until it clumps around the shallot, 20 to 30 seconds longer. Pour in the wine and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot until it returns to a simmer.


Add the mussels to the pot in an even layer, then immediately cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the mussels, without uncovering but shaking the pot halfway through, until they’re all opened, 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover the pot and remove from the heat.


Discard any mussels that stay closed, then taste the broth and season with salt, if needed. Pour out all the mussels and broth into a large bowl and sprinkle with parsley, if you like. Eat immediately with bread to sop up all the broth.