Hi everyone i'm jenny dorsey i'm a professional chef writer and a contributor to serious eats and today i'll be showing you how to make mussels escobache i consulted with chef sergi on this recipe this is adapted from his original recipe.
So before we get started i just want to show a video of our interview and show how he has a wealth of knowledge on all things escobache all things catalonian food so let's cut to that first hi i'm sergi amaya i'm a catalan chef based in villanova maya it's a very.
Small village on the prepariness near near the big mountains and near barcelona on the middle um so i first met chef from he through his friend fred sesque and so he has introduced me to chef sergey as an expert on excavate and muscle.
So i'm really excited that that chef sergey is here today kind of in the flesh to tell us about it okay it's uh it's a basic a basic recipe in in spain and also in catalonia it becomes from the middle age and it changed a lot uh from the beginning but.
The essence is the same it's a product that you can put in vinegar or in lemon juice with olive oil and spices that's that's the base uh the first uh the first recipe appears in liberal sensual in the 13th century and it's made with mussels it combines the sea and it combines the spices.
Basically it's a it's a recipe to conserve the fish or conserve the vegetables or conserve the the meats yeah i mean on that when we first started talking you are also seeing how escobache and like the early recipes were very different from the ones now and it had almond milk and you know just.
Things that we just never see and now version so can you talk a little bit about how it's evolved through the years when we start all this culture or this gastronomical culture we were we use a lot of spices we use a lot of vinegar because it's normal we don't have fridges and everything uh turns uh turns.
Bad so quick so it was a war recipe you know we we need to to keep all these all these products well for to eat for a while the times passes and all these spices starts to disappear because you know when you change the generation the generation think that the other thing it's it's just.
All things you know and we don't like this it's too old and also the big uh social changes now we want to to recuperate we want to recuperate all these flavors and all these tastes so it's it's a it's a cycle you know and when you when we can travel all around the world.
Uh here is a small place that that you can visit and you're gonna be happy with this thank you so much what a nice note to end on as usual so nice to see you thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge when you wanna talk about food and gastronomy sergi is here.
All right so first you want to start a muscles escobache recipe with the best muscles you can get so mussels are super versatile they're such a delicious animal bivalve and you can get them pretty much in any like grocery store just make sure that you get them fresh.
So what you want to find is nice closed muscles and if you find any that are slightly ajar you want to just make sure that they're still alive by tapping them against really any surface and you should see them close up so it's important that your muscles are still alive when you cook them i know it sounds a little gruesome.
But you don't want to have dead muscles because it can make you sick it's a good idea to just give them a little rinse and then check through them one by one by tapping on any surface and seeing if they close if you are buying muscles and storing them in your refrigerator for a few days.
Make sure that they are not like sealed in the plastic bag that you might have received them behind the seafood counter because that will suffocate them you also do not want to put them in water because fresh water or tap water will kill the mussels they need to live in like seawater.
So what you just want to do is put them in an open container like this and leave them out in your refrigerator so that they can breathe and make sure that they're not too cold or else they might freeze to death as well now that we have inspected all of our muscles we're going to debear them this is.
Really easy essentially you want some paper towels or you can use a like a hand towel as well and all the places you can like see the little beard you're just going to grab them and pull them down so some of them don't even really have beards but any that do.
You just want to grab and pull down so now that we have our nice deburred muscles we are going to just put the muscles into our pot and we're going to steam them in the pot without any water the mussels will naturally release their watery sea watery goodness so we don't.
Have to worry about that they will not burn so what you're looking for is the mussels to open up let out their muscle liquor which you can save and use for other applications like paella or honestly like a seafood stock is great.
Ah very lovely muscle facial great while we're waiting for our muscles to cool down we're going to make our escobache solution this is essentially a mix of flavored oil as well as some vinegar and spices so for the base we are using a high quality neutral flavored olive oil and we're.
Going to add some aromatics to that mix today i have some rosemary as well as some marjoram as well as whole cloves of garlic that are unpeeled in the recipe you'll see that it says time for some reason i could not acquire any time there was no time in like the five grocery stores i went to so i went with.
Marjoram but honestly if you don't like rosemary you don't like time don't like marjoram you feel free to use different types of herbs that you like i'll also be putting in some meyer lemon peel which i grew in my yard you can use regular orange or lemon peel this is a.
Pretty flexible recipe and then a little pro tip from chef sergi is that he uses whole garlic cloves that are unpeeled so that later on when your mussels are curing the garlic is also cooking and it cooks to a nice kind of like comfy sort of texture and you can pop them out.
Of the skin and eat them to him that is the best part i can validate and reassure you that this is a very delicious part of the process so you should not skip it so with that i'm gonna add some oil here some rosemary and then our marjoram got two bay leaves my lemon peels.
As well as some cinnamon shavings i like cinnamon shavings because it infuses a little bit faster than like a whole cinnamon stick but you can definitely use cinnamon stick have some black peppercorn some garlic a little bit of salt we're gonna heat this up again on kind of like a medium-low heat.
And we're just looking to infuse all of these flavors in our oil we don't need it to be like boiling we want it to like a light simmer and to let that simmer a little bit then we're going to take it off the heat and just let it do its thing i love how this smells.
Mostly i like how garlic and oil smells okay so this is simmering gently i'm gonna turn it off let it just keep infusing as we shuck our muscles so i'm gonna carefully move my portable induction to the side so shucking muscles is super easy you can use your hands or i guess you could use a spoon.
But essentially you're just pulling them out i think it's easier with your hands but for i guess so this video looks more sanitary i'll do it with a spoon for the first time ever and you'll note that some of the muscles are slightly different colors i just got like a really orange one it.
Really depends on what they eat so do not be nervous if you get a couple different colors of muscles as well alright i'm going to transfer our muscles into here so now that this has been off the heat it has now cooled slightly so i'm gonna add our sweet paprika.
And our wine vinegar and then pour this whole thing on top of our muscles now that you have your muscles escobache ready you can cure them in the fridge for two to three days that has been like the optimal time for me but at two days you can definitely pick.
One out taste them see how you like it if you want it to be a little bit more strong you can leave them in there for a few more days i would say these keep for probably about a week but if you keep them in the solution of course they get more tart and more pickled as time wears.
On so just make sure to kind of keep on top of your muscles and don't like leave them back in your fridge and forget about them they're so delicious so you'll have no trouble eating all of them in one sitting anyway all right well thanks to tv magic we actually have some muscles that are ready for.
Consumption and i just fished them out of our olive oil and vinegar mixture they look plump and delicious and i'm very excited to eat a garlic clove so you can definitely serve these with any little appetizers you like i like to have some baguettes on the side maybe some olives.
All right let's do a taste test so one muscle by itself oh i'm tasting a lot of good rosemary which i love so simple and then of course on toast i'm like that greedy person i always make a really large toast for myself now i'm going to grab a garlic clove and you can just pop it.
Out of the shell in your mouth so good so easy thank you chef sergi for that great tip thank you so much for allowing us to adapt your recipe this is such a staple now in my household it's just makes such a beautiful and effortless appetizer so definitely let us know what you think.
Thanks so much and we'll see you next time