One of the things I love most about my behind-the-scenes features with chefs and restaurants are the tips and tricks I take home in the process. The act of sharing a recipe boils down to so much more than just a dish – it connects us to culture, ingredients, and most of all, people.

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for Turkish Mussels for a while now, which was graciously provided to me by Chef Colin Clague. The recipe was part of a spotlight on Rüya Dubai, where Chef Colin took me through a journey on modern Turkish Cuisine.

This dish is delicious on it’s own as a main course or as part of an abundant feast. Serve hot out of the oven and sink your teeth into the meaty mussels and crisp breadcrumb gratin.

Afiyet olsun!

Stuffed Turkish Mussels (serves approximately 4 people)

For the Mussels:

  • 100 ml Verjus
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 5 parsley stems
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Maldon Sea Salt and Black pepper to taste
  • 2kg mussels, rinsed and bearded (chef recommends Scottish Mussels)

FOR THE RICE:

  • 50 grams Basmati Rice
  • 30 grams white onion
  • 250 ml of the reserved mussel water

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 30 grams celery, cut in brunoise
  • 30 grams fennel, cut in brunoise
  • 20 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 5 gams fresh dill
  • 1 gram allspice
  • 3 gr roasted garlic, mashed into a paste
  • 10 gr pomegranate molasses
  • 10 grams flat leaf parsley
  • 8 grams sultanas
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 30 grams Extra Virgin Olive Oil

FOR THE BREADCRUMBS:

  • 1 and 1\2 cups Fresh Loaf of Crusty Italian or French Bread, toasted and pulverized into coarse crumbs
  • 50ml Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 30grams Parmigianno Reggiano (or Turkish Equivalent), finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 20 grams fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1\4 teaspoon red hot chili pepper flakes (preferably Turkish)
  • 1gr Maldon Sea Salt
  1. In saucepan bring the verjus, celery, parsley stems, bay leaves, black pepper and salt to boil. Add the mussels to cook, covered until shells open 2 to 5 minutes. Reserving the liquid, strain into saucepan. When cool enough to handle remove the mussels from shells and reserve both the meat and the shells separately, scrub the shells clean.
  2. Heat oil and add finely chopped onion and garlic. Sauté without colour and then add the washed rice and cook for a few minutes until rice as changed colour. Add the verjus and stirring till absorbed. Cook out then add the mussel juice until rice is cooked al dente, but still moist. The rice will finish cooking when steamed.
  3. When the rice has cooled add the remaining ingredients for the rice mixture.
  4. Stir together breadcrumbs, oil, cheese, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and table salt.
  5. Take the cleaned shells and place  1tablespoon of stuffing into each shell half (about 15gr), make sure each half has a mussel, reserve until needed.
  6. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  7. Take a portion of mussels and place in a steamer over building water. Steam until hot (about 5 minutes). Place mussels on a baking tray and sprinkle over the grated breadcrumb mix. Lightly gratinate and drizzle over a little extra virgin oil. Bake for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned on top.  Serve immediately with a half lemon on the side.

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