Mejillones Rellenos [Tigres]
In Bilbao, these stuffed mussels are called Tigres because of their
fieriness. I fondly remember the crowded little bars in the old part of
Bilbao, where orders of tigres would emerge by the dozens from the tiny
kitchens. We devoured these mussels and everyone dropped the empty shells right
onto the floor, where periodically they would be raked up. This tapa is not as
popular today in the bars as it once was, but I like it so much that I make it
whenever I find fresh mussels.
- Servings: Makes 18 pieces
- 1 1/2 dozen mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
- 3 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 3 tablespoon white wine
- 1/2 cup mussel liquid
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water
- 4 tablespoon fine dry breadcrumbs
Olive oil for frying
Steam open the mussels. Put them in a deep pan with the water. Cover the pan
and put over a high heat, shaking the pan, until the shells open. Remove from
heat and discard any mussels that do not open.
Mussels can also be opened in a microwave. Place them in a microwave-safe
bowl, partially covered, and microwave at full power for one minute. Stir and
microwave one minute more. Remove any mussels that have opened and microwave one
minute more. Again remove open ones. Repeat twice more. Discard any mussels that
have not opened.
When mussels are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the empty half
shells. Loosen the mussel meat from the bottom shell and arrange the mussels in
their shells on a tray in a single layer. Strain the mussel liquid and reserve
Heat the two tablespoons of oil in a saucepan and sauté the minced onion
until it is softened, without letting it brown. Stir in the flour, cook for a
minute, stirring, then whisk in the wine and the mussel liquid. Cook, stirring,
until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Put a spoonful of this white sauce
onto each mussel and smooth it level with the top of the shell.
Refrigerate until the sauce is firmly set, at least one hour. Place the
beaten egg in one dish and the bread crumbs in another. Dip the mussels, open
face down, first into egg, then bread crumbs. Arrange them on the tray in a
single layer. (The mussels can be prepared up to this point, then frozen. Freeze
them in one layer, then pack them carefully in a freezer bag or plastic
container. Let them thaw at least one hour before continuing with the
To fry the mussels, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan. Fry
them in two or three batches, breaded side down, until golden brown. Drain
briefly on paper towels and serve hot.
'Unio' Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Unió Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made
solely from the juice of cold
Arbequina olives. They are grown deep in the rugged Pyrenees near the French
border, in Catalunya This is a variety of olives gaining in popularity in both
the United States and the general population of Spain, for that matter. The
olives are tiny and sweet producing a delightfully fruity light flavor, which
especially complements green garden salads and light cooking. You can savor its
wonderful buttery flavor by dipping a piece of crusty bread.
The economical tin is a practical way to store your oil. Since it is metal,
and not glass, it protects the oil from sunlight thereby protecting its delicate
flavor and extending the product's shelf life for several months. There is a
technical difference between this oil and the bottled Unió oil, which is
designated D. O. Siurana.
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