Stuffed mussels

Stuffed mussels

Midye dolmasi

By
From
Turkish Meze
Serves
4
Photographer
Alicia Taylor

In Istanbul, when walking over the Galata Bridge (or Galata Köprüsü as it is called in Turkish), you will see a lovely man, or woman, selling beautiful trays of stuffed mussels with a little wedge of lemon on the side. The mussels are truly amazing and everyone should experience them in Istanbul. You prise the shell open, squeeze a little lemon juice in, pop the mussel in your mouth, then give the empty shell back. You are in heaven! Here is how you can enjoy this experience at home.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
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

Method

  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. Add the onion and 150 ml of the olive oil and slowly fry until the onion is soft and golden.
  3. 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. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  4. 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. Gently prise them open with a spoon, without breaking the hinge.
  5. Using a small spoon, stuff each mussel with some of the rice mixture, then close them back up again.
  6. 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. 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.)
  7. Serve at room temperature, or chilled, with lemon wedges for squeezing over.
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