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Spicy Catalan mussels, almond picada

A quick and easy starter of spicy Catalan mussels with almond picada from Oldroyd's


  • 1kg mussels, cleaned and beards removed

  • 100ml light olive oil

  • 1 large shallot, finely diced

  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

  • a pinch chilli flakes

  • a pinch paprika

  • a pinch saffron

  • 125ml dry white wine

  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar

  • to serve crusty bread


  • 100g blanched almonds, toasted

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 1 large slice white bread, toasted and torn into pieces

  • a large bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • 100ml extra-virgin olive oil


  • STEP 1Throw away any mussels that are open and refuse to close when tapped hard. Heat the oil in a heavy based, medium sized saucepan (big enough to easily hold all of the mussels). Fry the shallot, garlic, chilli and spices over a low heat and season. After 3 minutes, or when the shallot is translucent, turn up the heat and add the white wine. Let this boil for 2 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and vinegar. Cover and gently simmer for 15 minutes.

  • STEP 2In the meantime, make the picada. Put all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Now slowly add the oil while pulsing until you have a thick pesto-like sauce.

  • STEP 3After 15 minutes, taste and season the tomato sauce and add the mussels. Stir once then cover with a lid. Simmer for 4 minutes, or until the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that have not opened and stir in 1 large tbsp of the picada.

  • STEP 4Divide the mussels into bowls and spoon over some more picada. Serve with bread for mopping up the sauce

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