Pan fried mussels (midye tava) with tarator sauce
These beer-battered mussels are offset nicely against the walnut, tahini, lemon, yoghurt and garlic flavours of a Middle Eastern tarator sauce. They are a favourite with Ali Arsan, one of the owners of the two Tasca cafés in Auckland - in Newmarket and Dominion Road. Although the recipe here serves four, Ali confesses he could eat the lot himself! Chef Zeki Kizilata makes the dish which is offered as a special from time to time. Ali says the Tasca eateries were inspired by the back-street cafes of Spain and are big on ambience and tasty food but small on formality.
This recipe is from Tasca Cafe and is one of the 12 finalists of Bite's Estrella Damm Tapas Competition in 2014. Click here to see all of the finalists.
Tasca Café, Restaurant and Tapas Bar, Shop 25 Nuffield Street, Newmarket and 338 Dominion Road, Mt Eden
For the mussels
|100 g||Self raising flour|
|1 bottle||Lager, 330ml, needs to be cold|
|1 kg||Mussels, scrubbed and bearded|
|1 bottle||Vegetable oil, or rice bran oil to deep fry|
|1 sprinkle||Plain flour, to dust|
For the tarator sauce
- To make the tarator sauce, soak bread in water for 5 minutes, then squeeze to drain. Pulse walnuts in a food processor to fine crumbs. Add bread, garlic, lemon juice and tahini. Season with salt and process until combined. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in yoghurt, dill and oil and adjust seasoning. Add water for a thinner consistency, if desired. Refrigerate until needed. Makes 1.5 cups.
- Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add mussels and 60ml (¼ cup) of the beer and cover. Cook, shaking pan, for 1 minute or until shells have slightly opened. Drain, remove mussels from shells, then drain on paper towel.
- Fill a deep-fryer one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds).
- Meanwhile, make batter. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites to stiff peaks. Place self-raising flour in a large bowl, then gradually whisk in remaining 270ml beer, then fold in egg whites.
- Place plain flour in a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper. Working in 3 batches, dust mussels in seasoned flour, shake off excess, then coat in batter. Fry for 2 minutes or until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Whisk batter between each batch to aerate.
- Season mussels and serve with tarator sauce, scattered with extra dill.