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Published on 27. May 2021

Recipe: Pickled Mussels

This recipe was made for the DG Mare initiative where a number of chefs where asked to present some ideas on sustainable fish recipes. This is my take.
You can see the others here:

For steaming

  • 1 kg mussels
  • ½ onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 1 dl dry white wine or rosè
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil 


  • 150 g apple cider vinegar
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 chilli
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fennel flowers
  • salt
  • Parsley

Slice onions, garlic, and tomatoes into fairly big pieces. 

Select a pot that is wide and thick-bottomed. Sauté the vegetables in the oil at high heat and add all the mussels at the same time. Give a little stir and add the wine, cover with a lid. 

Leave to steam for just a minute or so, pull the put to the side with the lid still on and keep covered for 5-10 min. 

Strain the mussels through a fine colander or cloth and keep the liquid. 

Pick through the mussels and take care in discarding the broken ones and the ones that are have not opened up, that is a sign that they might have been dead and spoiled to begin with. 

Pick out the mussels from the shells, you can use an empty shell as a thong for pulling the others out. In case the “beard” is still left in some of them take care in pulling it out while you keep the mussel closed around it. This keeps the flesh intact. 

As you pull the mussels from the shells add them to the liquid. You can add a few icecubes to the stock to cool it down faster. It is a good idea to pick the mussels while they are still warm so they can cool down in the liquid and avoid drying out too much. 

Strain the liquid off once again and reduce it down to about half. Add about 75 g of it to 150 of apple cider vinegar. Leave it to cool down to room temp. 

In the meantime add the mussels to a jar or a glass. Slice the garlic and the onions finely and add them to the jar with the fennel flowers. Season the liquid with salt, toast the paprika in a pan and add it to the liquid. Pour the liquid over the mussels in the jar and add the olive oil on top. Reserve in the fridge until cold or for a few days. 

Serve with toasted bread spread with butter and a few parsley leaves. Or as a condiment to a creamy vegetable soup or just as a snack with bread to dip.

You can eventually use this recipe to pickle leftover mussels if you have cooked too many. Otherwise they are a great snack to serve on a piece of toast or as a topping to a creamy soup.

See the video of the recipe for DG MAre here: