Fresh Mussels - Galician Style

By: Stephen Morgan

Somehow when you do a little research on the cuisine of an individual country it is quite easy to come up almost with a common theme, a common name for the food for that country. Such as English food, German food but when you consider Spanish food or if you wish to be a bit more accurate about how you look at it, food and recipes that originate from Spain there is a very convincing argument that would say it's not that simple.

The reason for this is that you could quite easily argue that technically there is no such thing as Spanish food and the reason being for this is that Spain is an amalgam of its constituent parts that is to say it could be described as a political construct which is made up of disparate groups with their own languages, cultures, cuisines etc. These autonomous regions have been slowly amalgamated through a number of different processes throughout history but have all kept their own distinctive features.

The number of autonomous different regions that form what we would nowadays refer to as Spain is 17; they all have their own linguistic variations of the language, in some cases it's a different sub language entirely and as well as their own cultures most definitely have their own individual cuisines.

One of those autonomous regions comprises the north-western province of Galicia. Galicia is surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean and it is pretty understandable to think that for a region that has such an involvement with the sea, its cuisine would also be heavily influenced by the sea.

The above having been said not all of Galicia's finest recipes are all seafood based and the region can lay claim to quite a variety of dishes all of which are most definitely worth investigating further.

Lets top talking about the food and get down to business. Let's eat!

As mentioned before the dish we are going to look at today is "Tigres Rabiosos" or "Spicy Mussels"

For our purposes we will be putting together ingredients enough for four people and as such the ingredients that we would need and the amounts would be as follows:

About 150 ml of water
24 live muscles
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic clove is called a chopped
1 small dried red chilli (chilli pepper), crushed
1 teaspoon all sweet or hot paprika, depending on how hot you like your mussels.
4 ripe tomatoes peeled and diced
4 canned anchovy fillets, diced
150 ml dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh crusty bread to serve with the mussels

The important thing at the start of this recipe and the key to all such recipes is preparation. Clean the muscles properly, scrub them carefully and discard anything that you don't like the look of. Remember, don't use any mussels that have remained open or have damaged shells. These are probably dead on probably the only thing that you would get from these would be a nasty does of food poisoning.

Bring the war to the boil in a large saucepan and then add the mussels and securely cover with a tight lid. Remember to shake the saucepan every few minutes and then the moment you see the mussels opened fully turn off the heat as soon as possible.

Remove the mussels from the pan and leave to cool and when you've done this remove the lids remembering to leave the nice juicy flesh in the remaining shells.

Now comes the interesting bit. Heat olive oil in a frying pan or skillet. Add the onion and fry until the onion is soft and golden. At this point add the garlic, the chilli (or chilli pepper) and paprika and stir until the aroma really hits you and starts to make your eyes water. At this point take the tomatoes the anchovies and wine and add to the mixture then bring this to the boil to reduce the sauce slightly. Season this sauce to taste if necessary.

Once you feel you have the sauce just right then add the mussels to the sauce and cook them together briefly and heat them through but do not boil.

When everything is finally ready so with crusty bread and it makes a delicious starter.

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