13 March 2016

Recipe 39: Mussels With Bulgur Wheat (Μύδια Με Πλιγούρι)

This is a great Greek recipe from Smyrna (current name 'Izmir', in Turkey). I usually prefer shellfish to be cooked in a very simple and quick way, because it tastes delicious without too much fussing about. However, it is really worth the effort of a few extra minutes, to do this recipe.

As always when cooking shellfish, make sure that the mussels are fresh and alive before cooking, otherwise you may be putting yourself in line for food poisoning! Therefore, before starting clean the shells of any stones and seaweed looking things and then put them in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes. If any of them remain open, throw them away and keep only the shut ones.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):
1kg fresh mussels
700gr spring onions, finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh dill, finely chopped
1 large tomato, grated
3 sweet peppers
half a cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup bulgur wheat
salt and pepper

1) Put a large saucepan over a high heat, covered. When it's hot, put the mussels in quickly, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan every now and then. Throw away any mussels that have not opened.

2) Empty the mussels in a large bowl and set aside. Empty the liquid left in the saucepan in another bowl, passing it through a sieve to get rid of any dirt etc.

3) Put the saucepan back in medium heat, add a bit of olive oil and saute the spring onions with the peppers.

4) Add the tomato and dill and stir for 2-3 minutes.

5) Add the mussels back into the pan and let everything boil so that any juices left in the pan are almost evaporated.

6) Then add the bulgur wheat together with 3 cups of liquid (1 cup of the mussel juice you kept and 2 cups of water). Season to taste and slowly bring to the boil.

 7) After about 5 minutes stir in the extra virgin olive oil and stir well. When the bulgur wheat is ready and the liquid has been mostly absorbed, take off heat and serve.

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