Pisto-stuffed mussels with crispy crumbs

Serves 4-6 Starters and mains

Mussels 4289

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Ingredients

  • 40 large mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 400g tomatoes, peeled
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with a little sea salt
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2tsp fennel seeds, freshly crushed
  • 3 piquillo peppers (from a jar)
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 5g basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 40g breadcrumbs
  • 15g Iberico cheese or Manchego, freshly grated
  • zest 1 lemon

Method

Put the mussels in a large pan with a few tablespoons cold water, cover and put over a medium-high heat for 4 minutes until the mussels have opened, shaking the pan regularly. Tip the mussels into a colander and drain, discarding any that haven't opened. Remove half the shells, leaving the mussel attached to the other half shell and arrange in a single layer in an ovenproof dish.

Quarter the peeled tomatoes, put the seeds in a sieve set over a bowl and push through as much juice as you can, using the back of a ladle with a circular motion. Chop the tomatoes finely and add to the bowl of pressed juices.

Put the onion, garlic paste and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the onion and garlic are soft but not coloured, for around 3 minutes. Add some freshly ground black pepper, the fennel seeds and the tomatoes and cook for 7 minutes, until thickened. Chop the piquillo peppers into small cubes and add them to the pan. Cook for 1 minute. Season with a pinch of salt, if needed. Set aside and allow to cool thoroughly.

Meanwhile, put the spinach in a large bowl and pour over boiling water from the kettle. After 2-3 minutes, it should have wilted. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Squeeze out all the moisture, then chop and add to the tomato mixture. Add the basil and season with sea salt.

Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F/Gas 6. Mix together the breadcrumbs, grated cheese and lemon zest. Pile the tomato mixture over the mussels in the shells and top with the breadcrumb mixture. They can be heated straight away or kept in the fridge for a few hours until ready to use. Spoon over the rest of the oil and put in the oven for 5 minutes. Finish under a high grill – with the shelf about 15cm from the heat – for about a minute, until golden and bubbling.

Mussels 4289

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