Spring nights and platters of stuffed mussels – now you’re talking
• 1kg black mussels
• 40g pine nuts
• 2 large onions, finely diced
• 300ml olive oil
• 220g medium-grain white rice
• 1 ripe tomato, diced
• 15g chopped flat-leaf parsley
• pinch sugar
• 35g currants
• 1 tablespoon ground allspice
• 60ml lemon juice
• lemon wedges, to serve
1 Scrub the mussels and remove the hairy beards. Rinse the mussels in cold water, then place in a strainer and set aside.
2 Place the pine nuts in a large heavy-based saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat for a few minutes, until golden brown.
3 Add the onion and 150 ml of the olive oil and slowly fry until the onion is soft and golden.
4 Stir in the rice, tomato, parsley, sugar, currants, allspice and lemon juice. Add 125 ml water, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then cover and cook over low heat for 10–15 minutes, or until the rice is just cooked.
5 Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
6 Meanwhile, add 3 tablespoons sea salt to a large bowl of water. Add the mussels and leave to sit for 5 minutes, until they open slightly.
7 Gently prise them open with a spoon, without breaking the hinge.
8 Using a small spoon, stuff each mussel with some of the rice mixture, then close them back up again.
9 Place the mussels in the same saucepan the onion was cooked in. Pour in 250 ml water and the remaining 150 ml olive oil. Cover the mussels with a large heatproof ceramic plate, to weigh them down.
10 Cover the pan with a lid and simmer the mussels for 10 minutes, or until just cooked. (Test by taking one out; the rice should be tender and the mussel sweet and juicy.)
11 Serve at room temperature, or chilled, with lemon wedges for squeezing over.
Recipe courtesy of Midye Dolmasi