A simple recipe that relies on using super-fresh mussels. The cooling tzatziki pairs deliciously with the hot, lightly spiced mussels.
2 kilograms mussels, scrubbed
1 cup chickpea flour
1 tablespoon dried sumac (see Cook’s note)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon each sea salt and ground pepper
¼-½ teaspoon ground chilli powder
olive oil for frying
small handful parsley, chopped
Tzatziki (see recipe below)
½ telegraph cucumber, seeds removed
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup thick plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
sea salt and ground pepper
pinch ground paprika
Place the mussels in a large saucepan with a splash of water. Cover and bring to the boil. Cook the mussels, removing them to a bowl as they open, discarding any that don’t.
Once cool, remove the mussels from their shells and pull out any hairy beards and check for small crabs. Pat the mussels dry with paper towels.
Combine the flour with all the spices in a bowl. Add the mussels and toss to coat well, shaking off the excess flour.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook the mussels, in batches, for about 2 minutes, or until golden. Drain on paper towels and repeat until they are all cooked. If the flour catches and scorches between batches, clean the pan and add fresh oil.
To serve: Pile up in a bowl, sprinkle with sea salt and the parsley and serve with lemon wedges and tzatziki.
Cook’s note: The sumac bush produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder and have
a unique tangy lemony flavour.
Grate the cucumber and toss with the salt. Place in a colander and leave to drain for 10 minutes.
Squeeze the cucumber to remove all the water and place in a bowl. Add the garlic, yoghurt, olive oil and red wine vinegar and fold together. Season generously with salt and pepper and tip into a bowl. Top with paprika. Makes about 1¾ cups