Mussels are very common in Spain as a tapa, and are often served both hot and cold. Spanish mussels recipes are very simple-- usually only a couple of ingredients combine to season the extremely fresh Spanish mussels.
These delicious marinated mussels (called mejillones en escabeche in Spanish) are available in small tin cans and just about any supermarket. The quality (and therefore the price) varies greatly. But making them from scratch tastes even better, and it is very easy! All you need are some fresh mussels and a bit of seasoning, and you will enjoy homemade marinated mussels in no time.
These mussels have an intensely flavored sauce of onion, wine, garlic and Spanish paprika that only gets better with time. We like to make this dish a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator for at least twenty-four hours. We serve it the following day with fresh rustic-style bread, either as an appetizer (a Spanish tapa) or a first course.
- Clean the mussels with a stiff brush, removing any debris on the outside. Rinse thoroughly under cold running water.
- Put all the mussels into a large pot with about 1-inch of water in the bottom. Cover and place over high heat and cook until the shells open.
- Remove from stove and place mussels in a colander.
- Rinse under cold water. Set aside and allow to cool.
- While mussels are cooling, peel and chop the onion and the garlic cloves. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of Spanish olive oil into a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan and heat oil on medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough, sauté the onion and garlic until golden in color.
- Remove pan from heat and add salt, paprika, white wine and vinegar. Stir all ingredients until salt and paprika are dissolved.
- Remove shells from meat. Discard any shells that did not open.
- Return frying pan to burner with onion and wine mixture and turn the heat on low. Add mussels to pan and stir. Simmer on low to medium-low for 3-4 minutes, then allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Serve with toothpicks and slices of French-style bread.
Although these mussels are tasty as soon as they are cooked, they are more flavorful when refrigerated and eaten the next day.