Grilled Mussels With Romesco Sauce

Grilled Mussels With Romesco Sauce

Makes approx 60

2 lb fresh mussels, cleaned 2 fl oz dry white wine

For The Romesco Sauce:
1 dried choricero pepper
8 oz vine-ripened tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, peeled
½ oz blanched hazelnuts
1 slice day-old white bread, toasted and crusts removed
4 fl oz olive oil
A pinch of dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

To Prepare the Pepper:
Pull out the stalk of the dried pepper, cover with warm water and leave it to soak overnight. The next day, drain it, slit it open and remove the seeds. Chop up roughly.

To Roast the Tomatoes:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the tomatoes and 3 garlic cloves into a small roasting pan and roast for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and roast for15 minutes until they are golden. Remove the pan from the oven and leave to cool.

For the Romesco Sauce:
Rub the slice of bread with the remaining garlic clove. Heat a little of the olive oil in a frying pan, add the bread and fry until richly golden on both sides. Leave to cool, then break it into pieces and put it into a food processor or blender with the contents of the roasting pan, the soaked red pepper, chili flakes, sherry vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Blend until smooth. Then, with the motor still running, very gradually add the rest of the olive oil to make a thick, mayonnaise-like sauce. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

To Cook the Mussels:
Put the mussels into a large pan with the wine. Cover and cook over a high heat, shaking the pan now and then, for 3-4 minutes until they have opened. Tip into a colander set over a bowl and leave until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, return all but the last 2 tablespoons of the mussel liquor to a sauté pan and boil vigorously until reduced to about 1 tbsp. Leave to cool, then stir into the romesco sauce.

And Finally:
Break the empty half shell off each mussel, loosen the meats from the other shell and lay them onto a baking tray. Dot each mussel meat with about 1 teaspoon of the romesco sauce and sprinkle with a little of the chopped oregano. Slide under a hot broiler and cook for about 1 minute until bubbling and hot. Serve immediately.