Mexican Shrimp and Mussels: Spicy, Delicious

The day after making paella last week, I discovered a bunch of forgotten mussels — purchased for that dish — in the refrigerator.

What could I to do with them?

Well, with Cinco de Mayo this weekend, I decided try a Mexican dish.  That represents a long step out of my comfort zone. I seldom go for Mexican food, merely because the more common dishes — tacos, fajitas and nachos — seem heavy and messy to eat. And, I know very little about hot peppers. Those foods always look so inviting, but they inevitably fall apart and end up in my lap, or the heat overwhelms my taste buds.

It wasn’t until I visited my sister Christine in Dallas decades ago that I got introduced to finer Mexican cuisine, definitely a step up from refried beans and chips. She took me to an elegant Mexican restaurant, and it changed my attitude forever. The meals were light, spicy and delicious. After reading a number of recipes last week, I cobbled together this dish. Other than the tedious chore of cleaning the shrimp, it comes together easily.

But, a helpful hint: When handling jalapenos, use disposable gloves to prevent getting “burned.”


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sweet cream butter, unsalted
1 medium onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, minced
1 pound Roma tomatoes, diced

1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
½ cup cilantro



Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Once heated, add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and peppers and cook an additional 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until softened. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil. 

Once the sauce boils, add the mussels, cover with foil and cook for approximately 6 minutes. When the mussels start to open, add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp turn pink and the mussels open (another 3 to 4 minutes). Discard any unopened mussels. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Serve with yellow or white rice, a green salad with avocado and a crusty loaf of bread.