MusselsSpicy Spanish Mussels

  [Clochinas Valencianas] [Mussels] [Ethnic] [Spanish] [Lee's Recipes]

Spicy Spanish Mussels

Inspired by a spicy mussel dish at Bar Pilar, a tapas bar in Valencia, this dish is made special by the crunchy almond and hazelnut picada added after the mussels are steamed.


3 1/2 pounds black mussels
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 toasted, skinned hazelnuts* (see below)
10 toasted, skinned almonds
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 dried red chili, crumbled, or 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes or chopped tomatoes with juice (if using chopped tomatoes, pulse them to a puréße in a food processor)
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine
Pinch of saffron (optional)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Clean the mussels. Inspect each one carefully and discard any that have opened (if some are partly open, tap them with your finger and if they close back up they are O.K.) or have cracked shells. Place in a large bowl, fill the bowl with cold water and rinse several times, swishing the mussels around in the water, pouring out the water and refilling. Clean the shells, if necessary, with a brush or the end of one of the mussels, and pull out the beards – the hairy attachments emerging from the shells. Do not do this until just before cooking, or the mussels will die and spoil.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven, soup pot or lidded frying pan and add the hazelnuts and almonds. Cook, stirring, until the nuts are golden brown and smell toasty, and add half the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, taking care not to let it color and burn, about 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from the heat and transfer to a mortar and pestle or a mini food processor. Allow to cool, then mash or pulse until the mixture is just short of pasty; the nuts should retain some finely chopped texture. Work in 1 tablespoon of the parsley and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until it is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt, the remaining garlic and the chili and cook, stirring, for another minute, until the garlic is translucent. Add the tomatoes, a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper to taste, and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has cooked down and is very fragrant.
  4. Add the white wine and saffron and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and steam 4 to 5 minutes, until they open. Stir the mussels halfway through to make sure they are evenly exposed to the heat. As they open, remove to a bowl with tongs. Discard any that have not opened. Keep warm.
  5. Stir the nut and garlic mixture and the remaining parsley into the tomato sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. Distribute the mussels among 4 wide soup bowls and spoon the sauce over. Serve with bread for sopping up the sauce.

Yield: 4 servings.


Advance preparation: Wait to clean the mussels until the day you make the dish. If you buy them a day ahead, remove them from the bag and place in a bowl, covered with a damp cloth, in the refrigerator. You can do Steps 2 and 3 a day or two ahead and keep the sauce in the refrigerator.

To skin hazelnuts, toast in a 300-degree oven for 20 minutes, until they begin to smell toasty. Remove from the heat and wrap in a clean dish towel. Rub the nuts in the towel and the skins will slip off. Turn the oven up to 350 degrees and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, until light brown and toasty.

Nutritional information per serving: 327 calories; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 8 grams monounsaturated fat; 48 milligrams cholesterol; 19 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 648 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 24 grams protein

MusselsValencian-Style Mussels (Clochinas Valencianas)

 [Spicy Spanish Mussels] [Mussels] [Ethnic] [Spanish] [Lee's Recipes]

Valencian-Style Mussels

Serves 2 - 4


1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil(preferably a mild Spanish olive oil)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. sweet Spanish paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. mussels, debearded and scrubbed


1. Put 2 cups cold water, lemon juice, olive oil, bay leaves, sweet Spanish paprika, and cayenne into a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Add mussels, cover, and give pot a few shakes to mix mussels and liquid together. Steam mussels over high heat, shaking pot once or twice, until shells open, 2 - 3 minutes.

3. Discard any shells that do not open. Divide mussels and broth between two warm serving bowls (or four, depending on the number of diners), discarding bay leaves.



Recipe 2 "Valencian-Style Mussels (Clochinas Valencianas)" from Saveur inspired by Bar Pilar in Valencia
on-line at accessed June 18, 2012

Recipe 1 "Spicy Spanish Mussels" inspired by Bar Pilar in Valencia, by Martha Rose Shulman, author of The Very Best of Recipes for Health New York Times published April 30, 2012
on-line at accessed June 18, 2012
Martha Rose Shulman is the author of The Very Best of Recipes for Health

5 New Ways to Prepare Mussels from Martha Rose Shulman

  1. * Oven-Roasted Mussels With Fresh Spinach: Mussels don’t have to be steamed. They will pop open in a hot, dry cast iron skillet, on a grill or in the oven.
  2. Spicy Spanish Mussels: Inspired by a tapas bar in Valencia, this dish is made special by the crunchy almond and hazelnut picada added after the mussels are steamed.
  3. * Mussel Risotto: Brown rice can be added for a mixed-grains risotto.
  4. Curry-Laced Moules à la Marinière With Fresh Peas: These are classic wine-steamed mussels, but the broth is seasoned with a little curry powder.
  5. Mussel Pizza: A dish typical of seaside towns in Italy or the south of France.

* outside link to New York Times

Source: Martha Rose Shulman's article regarding 5 ways to prepare mussels accessed June 18, 2012