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Spicy Dalboka Mussels

We cooked these mussels on Friday night form Caroline Eden’s ‘Black Sea’. A book that is as good to read as to look at. The recipe is Bulgarian with the mussels cooked in a spicy tomato soup. You will need lots of crusty white bread to go with.

Wine Suggestion: This pairs superbly with a good new world Pinot Noir, ideally from a producer that values freshness. If you can push the boat out a bit we’d suggest a Felton Road from Central Otago or a Tyler from Santa Barbera but tonight it was Newton Johnson’s Felicite from Hermanus to equally good effect.

Spicy Dalboka Mussels – serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter

  • 500g mussels, scrubbed and beards and barnacles removed (chuck any that don’t close tightly when tapped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli powder/pul biber (Turkish pepper flakes)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 10 pink peppercorns, crushed
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • a decent handful of spinach (or lovage when it’s around)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • small bunch of dill, chopped
  • small bunch of parsley, chopped

Warm the olive oil in a large heavy-based casserole, then sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, chilli, paprika and peppercorns, then the stock, vinegar and tomatoes – simmer for 15 minutes.

Turn the heat up to hight and add the mussels, spinach and salt. Cover and steam for a few minutes or until the mussels have opened (don’t eat any that haven’t opened).

Take the pan off the heat and add the lemon juice and herbs. Serve in bowls with lots of crusty white bread.

(Original recipe from Black Sea by Caroline Eden, Quadrille, 2018.)

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