This is my second recipe (#ad) for the Bord Bia #FlexYourMussels campaign and it’s a real favorite of mine. I always order mussels when I’m at a restaurant and am delighted to be rediscovering them over the length of this campaign, reminding me what a quick and easy option they really are. There’s loads of inspiration on the Bord Bia website and check out their handy ‘How to Prepare Mussels’ video too on www.bordbia.ie/fish.
Paella is the ultimate one pan dish, everything goes into the pot and an amazing paella is revealed half an hour later. The mussels are added at the last minute and the cooking liquor gives amazing flavor to the dish as well as making it look so beautiful. Years ago we rented out the cottage at Loop Head lighthouse for the weekend and I made this paella. I brought everything we needed and assembled it as soon as we got there. I placed my paella in the oven for half an hour. We explored the cliffs admiring the 300 degree views of the sea down to Kerry Head and Dingle and across to the Cliffs of Moher then came back to the lighthouse to a huge pot of paella. The sea air only added to the dish. It always feels like a special occasion when I make this but it couldn’t be simpler. It’s very well balanced with rice for carbohydrates and mussels for iron and protein. It’s also very economical and a great way to feed a crowd. Make sure you scatter it with freshly chopped parsley and serve with a big wedge of lemon. The lemon juice really brings out the flavors of this gorgeous dish.
Mussel & Bacon Paella
Time: 45 minutes
20 mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
12 uncooked large prawns, shells removed
100g bacon lardons
600ml seafood stock or water
5 saffron strands, soaked in 1 tbsp. boiling water 2-3 tbsp. rapeseed or olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
11⁄2 teasp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
300g paella rice
1 small handful of freshly chopped parsley Lemon wedges, garnish
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the onion, chopped red pepper and garlic. Stir through the paprika and cayenne pepper and season with a little salt and black pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the onions and peppers are softened. Then add another 1⁄2 tablespoon oil, add the bacon and cook until browned. Add the chopped tomato and cook for a couple of minutes. Drizzle in the remaining olive oil and add the rice to the frying pan. Stir to coat the rice in oil and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
Pour in the stock and saffron. Bring to the boil. Stir for a few minutes then reduce the heat, cover with a lid or tin foil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, but the mixture is still soupy and the rice is soft.
Add the mussels and prawns to the frying pan, cover and cook until the mussels have opened and prawns are pink. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Turn the heat off but keep covered for 5 minutes to let it rest.
Scatter with parsley, garnish with lemon wedges and serve.
NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS PER SERVING:
Energy: 498kcal Protein: 18gFat: 26g (Saturated Fat: 6.3g)