Mari's Stuffed Mussels Tapa Recipe - Tigres de Mari

Tigres - Spanish Stuffed Mussel Tapas
Tigres - Spanish Stuffed Mussel Tapas. Lisa Sierra (c) 2010 Licensed to Inc.
    60 mins
Tigres are one of the most popular tapas in northern Spain. Mussels are finely chopped and mixed with onion, pepper, tomato sauce to form a delicious filling. They are then breaded and lightly fried. This version separates the filling from the béchamel sauce, rather than mixed in with it. Although it takes a bit more time, the filling more flavor and the crust is crispier due to two layers of breadcrumbs.

What You'll Need

  • Filling:
  • 24-36 raw mussels in shell
  • 6-8 Tbsp Spanish virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 1/4 green bell pepper
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 2-3 oz (60 ml) white wine
  • 2 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • Bechamel Sauce:
  • 4-6 Tbsp Spanish virgin olive oil
  • 3 heaping Tbsp unbleached white flour
  • 4 oz (125 ml) milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Breading:
  • bread crumbs for breading
  • 2 large eggs
  • 16-20 oz (500-750 ml) Spanish virgin olive oil for frying

How to Make It

This tigre recipe makes approximately 24 tigres, or 6 servings as an appetizer or first course.

Boil eggs until hard. Place in cold water to cool. Peel and cut in half. Chop finely and set aside.

Tip: To finely chop hardboiled egg without making a mess on the cutting board, place the hardboiled eggs in a 16 oz wide mouth glass. Then, holding the knife vertically cut eggs into small pieces. Turn the glass every 3-4 cuts and the eggs will quickly be chopped into tiny pieces, perfect for a filling.

Set aside.

Clean mussels of any debris on outer shell and rinse thoroughly. Pour approximately 1 to 1 1/2 cups cold water and a pinch of salt into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add mussels and cover. Steam until shells open (approximately 3-5 minutes.) Discard any mussels that do not open their shells. Pour broth into a bowl and reserve for use later. Allow mussels to cool for 10 minutes, or until shells are cool enough to touch.

Remove mussel "meat" from shells. Keep the shells to fill. Finely chop the mussel "meat".

Finely chop leek (white portion only), onion and green pepper. Place a medium frying pan on low heat and sauté the vegetables in a few tablespoons of olive oil until they are transparent and soft. Add the chopped mussels and a few teaspoons of white wine. Stir, continuing to sauté 1-2 minutes. Add boiled egg, a few tablespoons of tomato sauce and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and allow to cool 5-10 minutes.

Once filling has cooled, fill mussel shells with mixture. Spoon approximately 1.5 Tbsp of mixture onto each shell, filling it completely.

Pour 4 Tbsp olive oil into a small sauce pan and heat on medium. When hot, add approximately 3 heaping Tbsp flour into pan and stir, frying the flour. Continue to stir with a fork or wire whip, so that sauce does not form clumps. While stirring constantly, add reserved broth. When broth has been absorbed, sauce should be thickening. Slowly pour in milk while stirring. Add pepper and mix thoroughly. For this recipe, the béchamel sauce should not be too thick.

Before béchamel sauce cools, spoon over filled mussel shells, covering mixture completely. Don't worry if sauce drips off shells a bit. Set on a platter or large plate and sprinkle each filled shell with bread crumbs before béchamel cools. (Once cooled, a thin film will form on top and bread crumbs will not stick.) Allow tigres to cool completely, then refrigerate or freeze if they will not be fried immediately.

Beat two eggs in a wide shallow bowl or small baking dish. Pour bread crumbs into small bowl. Set both bowls close to stove. Pour olive oil into a large heavy bottomed frying pan to a depth of 1-inch. Heat on medium. While waiting for oil to heat, quickly dip filled side of the shells into the beaten egg, then roll in the bread crumbs. Fry in pan, until upper crust is golden. Remove and allow to drain on a paper towel. Serve warm.

Optional: Sprinkle a bit of "oloroso" sherry on top of each tigre for added flavor just before serving.