This recipe is a version of the classic Spanish “Tigre”, a mussel and prawn croquette served in the mussel’s shell, which I tasted in Santiago de Compostela many years ago at a friend’s house. It is a very simple recipe and ever so rewarding, a definite hit for any dinner table as a starter. The creaminess of the béchamel (white sauce) and the taste of the sea from the Galician mussels with a touch of garlic and white wine make such a great combination. I must stress that the fresher the mussels the better the result.
As with most recipes in Spain each region has its unique touch, the recipe I am going to share with you is the typical recipe from Galicia, the home of the Spanish mussels.
However if you wish to jazz it up feel free! There are some who have them spicy or very spicy, known as “Angry Tigers” by adding a lot more cayenne pepper and chili. But let’s crack on with the traditional recipe and don’t forget to put a bottle of Albariño white wine from Rias Baixas in the freezer to chill off until serving!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 green pepper
1 glasses of white wine
300 grams of peeled prawns
1 kg of Mussels
3 Garlic cloves
1 Ripe peeled tomato (put it in boiling water for a minute and then the skin comes off easily)
1 large Bay leaf
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
To make the Bechamel:
700 ml full fat Milk
80g of Flour
70ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Let's crack on :
Wash the mussels really well in cold water and remove all the algae and dirt from the shell and rinse well.
Heat a glass of white wine in the pan, when the wine begins to boil add a bay leaf , a few sprigs of parsley and then the mussels. Put the lid on and shake a little until all the mussels are open. Once all the mussels have opened remove them from the pan. Wait a few minutes and then remove all the mussels from the shells with a spoon. Let them cool on a plate. Reserve the liquid in the pan for later (wine with mussel juice). If you want, just pour the liquid into a glass and keep it to one side.
Now we need to finely chop up the mussels and keep to one side.
Thoroughly wash and scrub the empty shells because we are going to use them to hold the filling the and thus put them in our mouths!
I usually buy prawns already peeled but uncooked, so all I have to do is chop them into small pieces. So chop them up and put them to one side too.
Now you need to chop the onions, garlic cloves, peeled tomato and pepper into very small pieces. Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil to a frying pan and fry the garlic first for about half a minute, then the onions and green pepper, then cook over low heat for about 10 minutes until it is all soft, it should not be crunchy at all. Taste and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Now add the chopped mussels and prawns followed by a glass of the ‘mussel and wine broth’ we put aside earlier!
Add the chopped tomato and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Let it all simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the liquid has pretty much evaporated. Stir with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes and then remove the pan from the heat.
To make the bechamel, add the extra virgin olive oil to a pan, add the flour, and lightly cook on low heat for a minute or so and then slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly. Then add salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes over a low heat, stirring it from time to time.
The next step is to mix the bechamel with the mussel and prawn filling and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should be of a very thick consistency. Let it cool down a bit.
Finally fill the mussel shells with the filling and leave them in the fridge for a couple of hours so they have completey cooled down.
Now we need to dip one in flour, then dip it in egg and finally dip it in breadcrumbs. Make sure the breadcrumbs completely cover the filling. Put to one side and repeat for all the rest.
The last stage is to fry them in Extra Virgin Oilve Oil. Heat the oil, use a piece of bread to judge the temperature. First place them face down in the pan until they are Golden and crisp, the turn them over for a minute and then remove from the pan and set aside to serve with a glass of nicely chilled Albariño White wine.