Valencian-Style Mussels

In Spain, it is common for a bar to be known for a single variety of tapas; we found this one at Valencia's Bar Pilar.

Valencian-Style Mussels (Clochinas Valencianas)
Here is a simple and scrumptious way to serve mussels the way they do in Spain, tapas-style.
Yield: serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (preferably a mild Spanish olive oil)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 12 tsp. sweet Spanish paprika
  • 14 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 12-2 lb. mussels, debearded and scrubbed

Instructions

  1. Put 2 cups cold water, lemon juice, olive oil, bay leaves, sweet Spanish paprika, and cayenne into a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add mussels, cover, and give pot a few shakes to mix mussels and liquid together. Steam mussels over high heat, shaking pot once or twice, until shells open, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Discard any shells that do not open. Divide mussels and broth between two warm serving bowls (or four, depending on the number of diners), discarding bay leaves.