The Wild Kitchen

Mussel Empanadas

(These are small South American pasties, deep fried and packed with flavour.)  Ingredients: Pastry: flour butter salt water. Filling:  (Preferably foraged, wild) mussels, onions, eggs, chilli powder, cumin, saffron threads, (fresh sea spaghetti or other foraged seaweed to flavour & decorate (such as Pepper Dulse) is optional).

     1.     Make the pastry by bread crumbing 200g flour with 80g cubed butter & salt to taste. Add approx 180 ml warm water & mix gently to a soft dough. (You can do this in a machine also).

     2.     Roll the pastry out thinly to make circles the size of a side plate. Flour these lightly to stop them from sticking together & store them in the fridge while you make the filling.

     3.     The filling: To cook the mussels, clean off all sand & grit. Heat a thick sauce pan until it is smoking. Add the mussels to the dry pan on a high heat and cook for, from 3-8 minutes with a lid on. Timing depends on how many you have, how thick the pan is, how warm the day, what cooker you have etc.… They are ready when they are all open and the pan contains a few inches of mussel juice. Drain, keep the juice & set aside.

     4.     Put the saffron strands in a small coffee cup & add 25 ml mussel stock.

     5.     Boil 2 eggs & leave to cool.

     6.     Toast some cumin seeds in a dry frying. Add a pat of butter & 2 chopped onions stirring until soft. Add chopped wild garlic (or 2 cloves of garlic). Add salt, chilli powder & the saffron juice. Cook for 3 minutes. Optional: add a little chopped foraged seaweed

     7.     Remove the mussels from their shells & stir into the filling mixture along with the 2 boiled eggs; peeled & crumbled in.

     8.     To make the empanadas: Using a brush dipped in egg, paint around the edges of the pastry circle. Fill the centre with a couple of spoons of the mixture. Draw up the sides to make a semi circle. Press them together and crimp like a small cornish pasty. You can decorate the empanada with seaweed that is stuck onto the pastry with the raw egg.

     9.     Deep fry the empanadas in hot 9smoking) sunflower oil, 2 at a time, for about 5 minutes each. Turn them over to puff up & become dark golden.  This is picnic/street food which is best eaten hot with no formality ie. your hands!

     Recipe  by Lucia Stuart for The Wild Kitchen.