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Mussels with Spanish green olives recipe

Mussels with Spanish green olives recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Seafood
  • Shellfish
  • Mussels

Recipe by the ambassador for Olives from Spain José Pizarro. It is a healthly, seasonal ingredient, with the Spanish olive harvest running from September-March.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 100g fresh chorizo, diced
  • 1kg mussels
  • 150ml white wine
  • 16 Spanish green olives, such as Manzanilla, pitted and halved
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:25min

  1. In a large pan heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Fry onion and the garlic in the olive oil for 3 minutes or just as the garlic changes to golden. Add the chorizo and fry until it starts to crisp – discard some of the fat from the chorizo if it is too much.
  2. Put the mussels in the pan, with the wine, olives and the sprig of thyme and cover. Cook for about 4 minutes or until the mussels have opened; discard any mussels that have remained shut.
  3. Add some fresh black pepper and the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

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Cut a deep slit in each olive with a sharp paring knife, then put the olives into a glass or earthenware jar or vat. Top with sufficient brine to cover. Put a plate or similar cover over the olives and weigh down with a brick or any other heavy object, making sure the olives are fully immersed in the water and salt formula.

Stir once in a while and wait a week before rinsing and changing the brine. Continue to do this once a week for at least 3 weeks. Taste the olives after the third week. If they are still too bitter, continue to rinse and change the brine a week at a time. Sometimes it may take up to 5 to 6 weeks. Skim off any scum that rises to the top.

Black olives require the same process, but because they are more mature they will take only 1-2 weeks to cure.

Once ready, dress the cured olives to your taste.

Some combinations are: whole garlic cloves and dried oregano or thyme, topped with a light olive oil and stored in a jar.

Add slices of garlic, the zest of an orange or lemon and 1 tsp of fennel seeds before steeping large black olives in olive oil to mature.

Another idea is to spice the olives with dried chilli flakes and whole coriander or cumin seeds.

What are Spanish olives?

Not going to ask you if you know what an olive is, but definitely many of you are wondering what are differences between the Spanish olives and the commmon ones? Well Spanish olives are small green olives originated in Spain, but they are extremely good. These olives are normally served in bars to share it with a drink, generally a cold beer. Sometimes these are not served as a tapa but are added to a big plate, the most common one is the salad with olives.

Recipe Summary

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato&mdashpeeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, lightly crumbled
  • Large pinch of Spanish saffron, lightly crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Albariño
  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/2 cup fish stock or bottled clam juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Crusty country bread, for serving

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeño and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato, oregano and saffron and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir it in. Add the wine and mussels, cover the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the fish stock, parsley and lemon juice and cook over high heat, stirring, until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Transfer the mussels and their sauce to deep bowls. Serve at once with crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

How To Cook Mussels

I know that mussels can be intimidating if you&aposve never made them before but trust me, they are very easy to make. They&aposre also incredibly versatile so once you learn the basic method of cooking them you can change the sauce they&aposre cooked in to create many new flavors.

A Few Notes for Perfect Mussels

  • Always buy your mussels fresh frozen mussels have a mealy texture. Make sure the mussel shells are firmly closed. If they are open a little give them a firm tap against the side of the sink or the counter. If they close you can eat them. If not discard them.
  • Make sure you inspect each mussel before you buy it. Don&apost buy any that has a cracked shell.
  • If you live more than a few minutes away from your fishmonger ask them for a bag of ice to put next to your mussels in your shopping bag. This will help keep them fresh if you must drive a little ways before you get home.
  • You&aposll want to give the mussels a scrub under cold running water. Grab their beards (the hairy stuff usually on the bottom side of the mussel) and give it a tug to remove it. Put all the clean mussels in a bowl and put them back in the fridge while you prepare the sauce.
  • Remember that mussels are very salty so you won&apost need to add any extra sea salt.
  • Mussels have a lot of liquid inside of them so even if it does not seem like there is much broth to begin with, once they cook and open up they will release their liquid into the pot and there will be lots of broth

Creamy French Mussels

Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 as a main or 6 as an appetizer


  • 2 lb. fresh mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, very finely minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Scrub the mussels well under cold running water and remove their beards. Place them back in your fridge while you prepare the sauce.

2. Place a medium sized pot over medium high heat. Add the butter and, when it has melted, add the shallots. Sauté the shallots for 3 minutes then add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

3. Add the white wine and bring the pot to a boil.

4. Add the mussels all at once to the pot and give them a stir. Put the lid on the pot and let them cook for 3 minutes.

5. Stir the mussels and remove any from the pot that have opened wide and place them in a serving dish. Continue to remove the mussels from the pot once they have opened.

6. Discard any mussel that remains tightly shut after 6 minutes.

7. Remove the pot from the heat, stir though the heavy cream, fresh cracked pepper and chopped parsley. Pour the cooking liquid over the mussels in the serving bowl and serve immediately.

Mussels are great served with a side of crusty bread and a couple of spoons for sopping up all the tasty broth.

These New England-style mussels are cooked in a white wine broth and topped with a garlic butter. "They&aposre best New England-style mussels you will ever taste," says I Sea Food and Eat It. "Serve with thinly sliced garlic French bread toast."

Make-Ahead Mussels?

Mussels must be served immediately after cooking but I&aposve learned a few tricks to make it easier if you are serving these to company:

  • The mussels can be scrubbed an hour before you serve them. Keep them in your fridge until right before you are going to cook them. Before cooking recheck them to make sure none have opened and discard any that have. Do expect to throw away a few.
  • The broth can be made a few hours ahead of time and left in the pot at room temperature. Bring it to a boil before adding the mussels.

Variations on the Basic Recipe:

French Mussels

Cook the mussels as described above but omit the cream at the end of cooking.

Chipotle Mussels

Sauté a few shallots in some butter. Add garlic, pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a few drops of liquid smoke. A little maple syrup and/or a small splash of soy sauce are also nice additions. Add some wine to the pot then continue to cook the mussels as described above. Once the mussels have finished cooking add a splash of cream to the sauce.

Italian Mussels

Sauté some shallots in olive oil. Add garlic and chopped tomatoes to the pot. Add the wine and continue to prepare the mussels as described above. Stir some chopped fresh basil through the sauce once the mussels have finished cooking.

Beer and Bacon Mussels

Dice a handful of bacon and cook it in the pot until it is nearly crispy. Drain most of the oil from the pot then add some finely minced onion. Cook the onion until it is soft and the bacon is crispy. Pour some beer into the pot and bring it to a boil. Cook the mussels as described above. You can also add a splash of cream at the end if you like.

Mussels with Pipirrana Salad Recipe

Pipirrana is a type of salad which originates from Jaén in the Spanish region of Andalucía. It usually includes onion, tomato, green pepper and cucumber but each province in the region seems to have a different version of it. In its simplest form the salad is dressed with olive oil and vinegar then enjoyed with chunks of fresh bread. Alternatively, it can serve as an accompaniment to any number of seafood dishes including grilled mackerel (caballa) in Cádiz or octopus (pulpo) in Málaga. Our version of the recipe consists of a cold dish of mussels covered with the four traditional ingredients of pipirrana and a vinaigrette dressing.


Serves 4 or 6 people as a tapa

  • 12 mussels
  • 1 medium tomato
  • ½ small onion
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 4cm of cucumber
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Cooking Method

You should start by cleaning the mussels. Remove the beards and clean the outside of the shells – some people like to scrape the shells to get them spotless but I don’t think you need to go to overboard. Throw out any that are broken or that are open and don’t close when you tap them gently.

Now put a small amount of boiling water in a pan and add the mussels. Put the pan on a medium to high heat and cover. Check the mussels after a few minutes to see if they have opened. This may take around 5 minutes. Once they have all opened remove the mussels from the pan and set them aside to cool.

Meanwhile finely chop the tomato, onion, green pepper and cucumber. Mix these in a bowl with the oil and vinegar and a little salt and pepper. Taste this mix as you may want to add more oil or vinegar.

Now remove the mussels from their shells and place each one back on one half of its shell. This makes them easier to eat than leaving them attached to their shells. Put them on a serving plate. Now use a spoon to cover each of the mussels in its shell with the salad mix. Once they are all covered pour the leftover liquid over the shells.

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 10 or 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer onion to a large bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Working in batches, add half of potatoes in an even layer and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes begin to soften, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add eggs and olives to reserved onion-potato mixture, and gently stir to combine.

Wipe the skillet clean. Over medium heat, heat remaining olive oil. Add half of reserved potato-onion-egg mixture to skillet, smoothing with the back of a spoon to create an even layer. Top with cheese then cover with remaining potato mixture, smoothing with the back of a spoon to create an even layer. Cook for 10 minutes on stovetop, then transfer skillet to oven.

Bake until eggs are set and potatoes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Adjust oven to broil and cook tortilla until top is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate and cut into 6 or 12 wedges. Serve hot or at room temperature.


  • 24 to 36 raw mussels in shell
  • Spanish virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 1/4 green bell pepper
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 2 to 3 ounces white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 3 heaping tablespoons flour (unbleached white)
  • 4 ounces milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, for breading
  • 2 large eggs
  • Optional: Spanish oloroso sherry

Santa Fe School of Cooking


  1. 1 Heat a large skillet or saucepan over high heat. Add olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and add the diced chiles, pepper, and onion. Sauté until color begins to develop, add the garlic, and cook until slightly browned.
  2. 2 Add the chipotle seasoning, paprika, and cumin, and stir briefly add the mussels and optional capers.
  3. 3 Stir well and sauté for about 1 minute then deglaze with the Pernod, followed by the wine (be careful, as the alcohol may flame).
  4. 4 After the flames subside, add the stock or water, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Cover and steam over high heat until the mussels open (about 4 to 5 minutes).
  5. 5 Add the cilantro and butter, and mix well over the heat until all of the butter is incorporated. Discard any unopened mussels, adjust the seasonings, and serve.

Beverage pairing: Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand. When a recipe calls for a “dry but fruity white wine,” as this one does, it’s a good bet the wine will also work with the dish. Such is the case for this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which is bright, stony, and full of life. It will enhance the mussels without stealing the show.


In my opinion, fresh Mussels offer up a complete sensory food experience. For a start they look really cool in their elegant, black, shiny shells. Then there’s a slightly rhythmic sound when they are being gently shaken in the pan and poured into a large bowl and then you get to breathe in that amazing sea-fresh aroma before extracting the succulent mussels from their shells and enjoying all their wonderful, gutsy flavour. If that wasn’t enough, the best is still to come. After cooking you are left with an intensely rich, tantalizing cooking liquid that offers up the most incredible taste sensation and as you soak up the delicious, fragrant broth with pieces of crusty bread, you come to the realization that nothing else tastes quite the same.

Often regarded as poor man’s shellfish, mussels are cheap, plentiful and entirely sustainable. Archaeological findings even suggest that mussels have been used as a food for over 20,000 years and they are also a good source of vitamin B12, zinc, folic acid and omega 3.

Spanish Mussels, along with clams, appear in just about every seafood dish you care to imagine from the ubiquitous Paella to the various fish soups, stews and calderetas all along Spain’s vast coastline.

In the sheltered bays of the Spanish Atlantic coast, mussels are commercially grown hanging from ropes attached to stakes in mussel farms. The constant exchange of water through the ebb and flow of the tide encourages the build-up of plankton, the mussels’ main food. Today there are over 3,000 firmly anchored floats along the coast of Galicia alone, from which the mussel-covered ropes are suspended. The ropes, which can weigh over 250 pounds, are hauled into boats and stripped of their harvest.

Because mussels tend to live in shallow sandy waters, they tend to take grit and other particles into their shell when they feed. When placed in a bucket of cold salted water with a sprinkling of oatmeal or flour, the shellfish will feed on the oatmeal and excrete the dirt. Wash the shells thoroughly, using a scrubbing brush to remove any barnacles and remove their “beards,“ the hairy looking filaments that adhere their shells to the rocks. Discard any that are not tightly closed or have broken shells. Give them a little tap on the tabletop to see if they close.

Spanish-Style Mussels with Olives, chorizo and sherry

All Spanish flavours seem to marry well with mussels. This one of my favourite recipes and it never lets me down when I’m looking for a simple, delicious supper dish with family & friends.

Serves 4
1.2kl Fresh Mussels, de-bearded and cleaned
4 Garlic cloves, crushed
3 Tomatoes, peeled and diced
50g raw chorizo, diced
1 Onion, finely chopped
24 Green Olives (manzanillas), finely chopped
½ red pepper, finely chopped
150ml dry Sherry (fino)
2tbsp Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
2tbsp Olive Oil
Juice of one lemon

Heat the olive oil over a gentle flame. Add the onion, chorizo, red pepper and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Add the clean mussels, stirring so they are evenly coated in the vegetable-chorizo mixture. Add the sherry, cover with a lid and steam until the Mussels just begin to open (about 4-5 minutes). Add the green olives, chopped tomatoes, lemon juice and parsley. Cover with the lid and cook for a further minute. Bring the saucepan to the table, remove the lid and serve immediately.

Baked mussels with tomato, Parmesan & basil

Serves 4
1kl fresh mussels
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4tbspolive oil
½tsp paprika
200ml dry white wine
Juice of ½ a lemon
Pinch of “Flor de sal”
200ml fresh tomato sauce
50g grated Parmesan cheese
50g white breadcrumbs
10 basil leaves, torn
2tbsp parsley, finely chopped

lean the mussels well in cold water, removing their beards and scraping away any barnacles that have stuck to the shell. Discard any that do not close.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Sweat the chopped onions and garlic cloves over a gentle flame until they start to soften. Add the paprika, lemon juice, dry white wine, and the clean mussels. Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook gently until for about 5-6 minutes and all the mussels have opened. Discard any that remain closed.

Remove from the heat and strain the liquid into a clean saucepan. When cool enough to handle, extract the mussels from their shells and discard half of the mussel’s shells. Place the remaining shells on a baking sheet.

Bring the mussel stock to the boil and add the fresh tomato sauce. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 3-4 minutes to thicken the sauce, then stir in the basil, chopped parsley and cooked mussels.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Spoon the mussels back into their empty shells, sprinkle over the parmesan, breadcrumbs and bake for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbling on top. Serve with crusty white bread.


Serves 4
l1kl fresh mussels, cleaned

For the Escabeche:
250 ml olive oil
125 ml sherry vinegar
125ml water
100ml dry white wine
5 black peppercorns (crushed)
1 small onion (sliced finely into rings)
4 garlic cloves (crushed)
1tsps. Paprika
1tsp. Oregano
1 clove
2 bay leaves
1tsp. Salt

Place all the ingredients for the Escabeche in a clean heavy-bottomed saucepan and set over a gentle flame. Cook slowly for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and blanch the mussels in batches until they open. Remove the mussels from their shells and add them to the “Escabeche”. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.

Place in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 24 hours. Serve with olives and salad leaves.