On a hot summer’s day in Spain, nothing beats sitting on a local terrace with a cold drink and tapas. This recipe is not usually served but there are plenty of other seafood options. This mussel recipe comes directly from my Mom. It is a great appetizer or meal depending on how much you eat. I usually like to enjoy them so I eat very little else. They can be quite rich and filling belive it or not. Although the weather doesn’t compare to that of Spain, this dish brings a bit of Spain here.
The recipe starts by finely dicing the “salsa” or sauce. “Escabeche” is the Spanish word used when anything tends to be pickled or “in vinegar” which is one of the ingredients in this sauce. To North Americans, pickled seafood might sound a bit off-putting but, in Spain, and many other European countries, they have used this method to preserve their food for a very long time. Since seafood is a large part of many cultures, it only makes sense. You need to try it 😉
To make the sauce use 2 C of parsley, 1/2 C of green onions, 2 cloves minced garlic, and 3 roma tomatoes. Make sure these are all finely diced as they will be served in the mussel shells.
Add about 8 Tbsps of olive oil and 4 Tbsps of balsamic vinegar. Season with some salt. Adjust the taste as needed but mussels aren’t very “tasty” on their own so the yum factor comes from the sauce.
My Mom also adds Tabasco sauce to the mix but I prefer to treat these like oysters and squeeze a bit of lemon and add a few drops of Tabasco at the end. It is also more interactive if you have guests.
Once the sauce is mixed, find some large greenshelled mussels. These typically come from Thailand or New Zealand and can usually be purchased in any local Asian market in the freezer section. They can be found in 1 kilo boxes which holds about 35 mussels depending on the size. If this is too many, make 1/2 the mussels and half the sauce recipe.
The shell is large so it holds the salsa nicely and they are very easy to cook. If you have a steamer, layer the shells so they are not upside down and steam for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them as they will turn tough.
Fun fact: there are pills made from these greenshelled mussels because they are supposed to help with joint pain and arthritis!
Arrange the shells on a large platter and place some of the sauce in each one. This is a dish that can be served right away or chilled and served cold. You can prepare an hour in advance. I have eaten these the next day and they are fine except the tomato will be a bit softer.
Serve with lemon wedges and Tabasco sauce on the side. ¡Buen provecho!
1 kilo greenshelled mussels
3 roma tomatoes (finely diced)
1/2 C green onion (finely diced)
2 C fresh parsley (finely diced)
2 cloves minced garlic
8 Tbsps olive oil
4 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
Tabasco sauce (optional)
Lemon wedges (optional)
- Combine the parsley, green onion, tomatoes, garlic, salt, olive oil, and balsamic in a bowl and set aside.
- Layer mussels in a large steamer and steam for 5 minutes.
- Do several batches if you use a smaller steamer.
- Arrange the mussels nicely on a platter.
- Place some of the sauce in each mussel.
- Serve with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of Tabasco sauce.