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    Stuffed mussels recipe Basque Recipes, Tapas Recipes 5 1 5 0

    Tigres Stuffed Mussels

    • Serves 6 people
    • Complexity Easy
    Prep time
    20 mins
    Cook time
    60 mins
    Total time
    1hr 20 mins
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    • 1kg large Scottish mussels, clean and beards removed
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    • 4 tbsp of olive oil
    • 75g plain flour
    • 2 tsp sweet paprika
    • 1 tsp spicy paprika
    • 100ml tomato sauce
    • 100ml cooking liquid from the mussels
    • Salt to taste
    • For the bechamel sauce:
    • 500ml whole milk
    • 100g butter
    • 100g plain flour
    • ½ onion, peeled
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 cloves
    • Salt and nutmeg to taste
    • For the pane mix:
    • 100g plain flour
    • 4 eggs
    • 200g breadcrumbs
    • Vegetable oil for frying
    • Salt to taste


    Tigres are a classic pintxo from Bilbao made from a stuffing mix made with onions, chopped fresh mussels, paprika and tomato, stuffed into the actual mussel shell, coated with a thick bechamel sauce, rolled in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown. Taberna baste in the old part of Bilbao, sells hundreds of these tasty pintxos every weekend and has been make them the same way for over 30 years.


    1.  For the mussel stuffing, place the mussels in a large pan with 50ml of water, cover with a lid and cook on a moderate heat until they open, about 3-4 minutes, drain and keep the cooking liquid aside. Be sure to discard any that do not open. Remove the cooked mussels from their shells and roughly chop the meat ready for the stuffing, keep the best-looking shells to stuff them. While the mussels cool down, heat the oil in a shallow casserole dish and gently cook the chopped onions for about 8-10 minutes until soft but with no colour. Add the paprika and stir for 30 seconds, add the flour and cook for 1 minute on a low heat. Add the tomato sauce, cooking liquid, chopped mussels and simmer for 5 minutes until thick. Season with salt and set aside.
    2.  For the bechamel sauce, gently bring the milk to the boil in a small saucepan with 1 halved onion, studded with 1 bay leaf and 2 cloves. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 20 mins. Melt the butter in another saucepan, then add the plain flour. Stir continuously until a paste forms – this is called a roux. Continue cooking for 2 mins. Remove the onion, bay and cloves from the milk with a slotted spoon and discard. Add the infused milk to the roux gradually, stirring as you go, until you get a smooth sauce. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously, until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and nutmeg to taste and set aside.
    3.  To stuff the mussel shells, use a spoon to fill each shell with the mussel stuffing and coat with ½ tablespoon of the thick bechamel sauce on top. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.
    4.  Roll each mussel in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and fry in the vegetable oil at 180°C for 3 minutes or until golden brown, make sure you keep on turning them whilst frying them. Serve with a cold beer.

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