Shellfish are a universally enjoyed dish, especially in countries either bordering on the sea or with easy access to its waters.
One such country is Turkey were fried mussels are traditionally dipped in a savory tarator sauce. This delightful but little known sauce is made with white bread crumbs, walnuts, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs.
TURKISH STYLE MUSSELS WITH TARATOR SAUCE
For the Fried Mussels
- 1 ¾ l lager beerane
- 2 lbs. Taylor Mediterranean Mussels
- ½ cup plain flour
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 ¾ cup sunflower oil
- 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges, to serve
For the Walnut Tarator
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 1 oz. fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 1½ tbsp white-wine vinegar
- 2 ozs. olive oil
Put all the tarator ingredients apart from oil in the small bowl of a food processor.
- Add a pinch of salt.
- Blitz to combine.
- With the machine running, slowly add the oil until you have a thick but textured sauce.
- Set aside.
Turkish Style Mussels
- Pour 250 ml of lager into a large saucepan for which you have a lid.
- Turn on to a high heat.
- Once boiling, add the mussels, cover and cook rapidly for three to four minutes, until all the shells have opened up.
- Pick the cooked mussels from their shells and set aside; discard the liquid and shells.
- Put the flour, chilli and bicarb in a bowl with half a teaspoon of salt.
- Add the egg yolk.
- Slowly pour in the remaining lager, whisking all the time, until you have a smooth, thick batter.
- Stir in the mussels.
- Pour the oil into a medium saucepan and put on a medium heat.
- Once hot, use a slotted spoon to drop 10 battered mussels into the hot oil.
- Don’t be tempted to add any more, because they will stick together if the pan is overcrowded.
- Fry for three to four minutes, turning once, until golden-brown.
- Use another slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
- Keep somewhere warm while you cook the remaining mussels.
- Serve warm, with a bowl of tarator alongside for dipping and a wedge of lemon for squeezing over.