This month I just had to make mussel fritters. Mussel fritters remind me of being at the beach during the summer holidays; making decisions about ice cream flavours at the dairy, whether to wear jandals or walk barefoot and if the Christmas ham is still good for another day’s sandwiches. Family friend and master fisherman, Ray Bax told me the secret to a fabulous mussel fritter is to use raw mussels in the mix. Well the secret is out Ray. I don’t know if any of you have ever tried to shuck a raw mussel but with an arm like mine it’s impossible. Instead, I steam the mussels for about a minute, until the shells only just open. The virtually raw mussel meat does make for a moist fritter and adding larger chunks of cooked meat to the fritter batter gives another element of texture and visual awesomeness.
I have served mine as a sandwich, with mesculin leaves and my homemade tomato sauce but really they are perfect on their own with salt, pepper, lemon juice and a cold beer.
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped (optional)
1.5-2kg live mussels
¾ cup self raising flour
½ cup milk
A handful of parsley, chopped roughly
Salt and pepper
Olive oil to fry
Mesculin and fresh white bread or lemon wedges to serve
1. On a low to moderate heat, sautè the onion, garlic and chilli in a little olive oil until soft.
2. Cook the mussels in batches. In a large saucepan bring 1 cup of water to the boil. Add half the mussels and put the lid on. After one minute, take the lid off; if the mussels are just starting to open then they are ready. Take them out of the pot and immediately into a strainer/colander.
3. Bring the water back to the boil and add the second batch of mussels. Cook this batch for a little longer, allowing the shells to open. Take this batch out of the pot and straight into the strainer (after removing the previous batch- you want to keep the batches separate).
4. Remove the mussel meat from the shells. Chop the raw mussels from the first batch thoroughly (i.e. to resemble a rough mince) and the cooked mussels roughly (i.e. each mussel quartered).
5. Sieve the flour in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs with the milk and then combine with the flour to form a thick batter.
6. To the batter, stir in the onions, garlic and chilli, mussel meat, chopped parsley and finally season with salt and pepper.
7. Cook spoonfuls of the mixture in a frying pan with a little olive oil.
8. Sandwich a large fritter, tomato sauce and mesculin between two slices of white bread or serve small fritters with lemon wedges.