In northern Greece, mussels make up big part of the seafood culture and practically every taverna serves up Mussels Saganaki or fried mussels. Nowadays one can also find other more worldly dishes and you even find fresh mussels in Athens and on many of the more touristy islands.
Mussels are cultivated in Greece and many of the companies that produce them have good delivery channels coupled with Greece’s much improved infrastructure. Here in Canada we have two options: we get our mussels from either the east or west coast. I love both of them but if you can, head over to Diana’s Seafood in Scarborough on Thursday’s and ask for Blue Gallow Mussels from the west. Upon looking their shells they are no different from other mussels but when you open them, you will see a big piece of meat in each shell!
They are sweet juicy, briny as the sea and perfect for this citrus vinaigrette spike with a mild red chilli, a trio of citrus juices and Greek olive oil to bring all the flavours together. This is cold (room temperature) dish but the flavours come out loudly and your guests/friends are going to be slurping these into their mouths!
Mussels Meze With Zesty Vinaigrette
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (or red onions)
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. finely chopped capers
2 Tbsp. finely chopped mild red chilli pepper
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 Tbsp. grapefruit juice
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2lbs. live mussels
2-3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
- To make your dressing, add the capers, garlic, shallots and chilli pepper in large jar with the red wine vinegar and stir and allow to sit for five minutes. Now add the mustard, citrus juices, parsley and olive oil, place lid on and vigorously shake. Adjust with salt and pepper, shake again and reserve.
- Clean the mussels by rinsing under cold water, scrubbing and rubbing the shells and pulling the beards out. Rinse once again and discard any that do not close or cracked.
- Place the olive in large pot over high heat and once hot, add the mussels, wine and cover. Steam for about 5-6 minutes or until mussels have opened (discard any that have remained shut). Strain from the liquid (save/store to use as stock for another time) and allow to cool.
- Open each mussel, discarding one shell from each and separating the meal from the other shell. Place the mussel meat back on each half-shell and arrange on plates or a platter.
- Shake the dressing once again and before serving, spoon over the dressing and serve with an Agyros Atlantis White.
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