Mussels escabeche

Escabeche is a dish where the main ingredient is usually an oily fish like mackerel or shellfish (it can also be made with meat) marinated in a vinegar and olive oil solution that’s been infused with herbs and spices. There are many variations of this dish in Spain, Portugal and Mexico. I love serving this dish as one of many. Leftovers are great warmed through a simple tomato sauce and served with pasta.

Serves 4 

1kg mussels
150ml white wine
100ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 lemon
2 tsp smoked paprika
50ml apple cider vinegar

Fill a large bowl with water, then add the mussels (discard any that have cracked shells or don’t close when gently tapped on the counter). Using a small paring knife, remove the beard and any barnacles from the shells. Rinse the cleaned mussels in a colander and refrigerate until just before cooking.

Put a medium-sized heavy-based pot on a medium-high heat to preheat for 3 minutes. Add the mussels, then immediately pour in the white wine. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and give the pot a little shake. Cook, covered, for 3 minutes. Remove the lid – all the mussels should be cooked and open at this stage.

Drain the mussels in a large colander (reserve the stock produced for another use). Allow the mussels to cool slightly before picking the meat from the shells. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened. Put the picked mussels in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan on a medium-low heat. Add the garlic and bay leaf and cook for 3 minutes.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel two lengths of zest from the lemon and add them to the pan along with the smoked paprika. Cook for 2 minutes to infuse the oil, then add the apple cider vinegar and cook for 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat and discard the bay leaf and lemon zest.

Add the escabeche liquid to the mussels while it’s still warm and mix well. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. This can be served cold, at room temperature or warmed through and will keep in the fridge for up to three days.

From Blasta Books 10: WHOLE CATCH by Aishling Moore

Illustration (c) Nicky Hooper

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