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Mussel 'popcorn' with black sauce

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Ingredients

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Mussel popcorn

  • 500g of live mussels, or 150g of cooked mussel meat
  • 150g of plain flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 bunch of basil, or dill, chopped
  • oil, for deep-frying

Black sauce

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Method

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1
Begin by cooking the mussels – you can skip this step if using pre-cooked mussel meat. Scrub and de-beard the live mussels, discarding any that remain open when tapped. Tip into a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a splash of water. Cover and leave to steam for 5 minutes, or until the mussels have opened. Drain the mussels (reserving the liquor) and discard any that remain closed. Remove the meat from the mussels and set aside – you will need 150g of mussel meat for this recipe
2
For the black sauce, place all the ingredients into a saucepan over a medium heat. Once simmering, blend with a hand blender until smooth and dark grey in colour. Transfer to a bowl or jug and set aside (this sauce can be prepared in advance)
3
Measure the cooking liquor and, if needed, top up with cold water until you have 250ml (if you’re using pre-cooked meat, simply use 250ml water). Pour into a pan with the butter and bring to the boil. Sieve the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and, when the water is boiling, quickly tip the mixture into the pan
  • 150g of plain flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 100g of unsalted butter
4
Stir well with a wooden spoon, then remove from the heat. Beat the mixture for a few minutes until it forms a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the pan. Add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, until smooth and shiny
5
Chop the cooked mussel meat and stir into the choux pastry along with the basil (or dill). Preheat a deep pan of oil or deep-fat fryer to 180°C
  • 1/2 bunch of basil, or dill, chopped
  • oil, for deep-frying
6
Use a tablespoon to form small balls of the choux mixture and drop them into the oil. Cook for around 5 minutes, or until golden and fluffy (you may need to work in batches) and season with salt. Serve the popcorn immediately with the sauce on the side for dipping
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