Fermented shiso and pickled mussels

Fermented shiso and pickled mussels

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

There’s no way of knowing what lies hidden within boxes without opening them. Similarly with foodstuffs wrapped in leaves. My thoughts then moved on to featuring the leaves themselves: here, the fragrant and striking shiso leaves. The starting point of hidden things was then overturned.

For the fermented shiso leaves


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons fish sauce
40g finely chopped brown onion
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon chilli flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped carrot
130g shiso leaves, washed and dried, (see glossary)

For the pickled mussels

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 celery stalk, finely sliced
1/2 carrot, finely sliced
1 red asian shallot, finely sliced
2 lemons, juiced
20 black mussels
lovage or mitsuba leaves, to garnish


  1. Prepare the fermented shiso leaves:
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the shiso leaves in a blender and purée to a fine paste. Brush the paste over each shiso leaf and arrange in a stack on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 days before using.
  3. Pickle the mussels:

  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the celery, carrot and shallot and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the lemon juice, then remove from the heat and keep warm. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan on very high heat. Add the mussels, put a lid on and steam them open. Take the mussels out as the shells open, debearding them at the same time. Drop them into the warm pickling mixture. Cool, then refrigerate for 2–3 hours before using.
  5. Assemble the dish:
  6. I picture serving this as a shared appetiser, so lay the shiso leaves out individually on a platter. Take the mussels from their pickling mixture and scatter them over the leaves. Garnish with small leaves of lovage or mitsuba.
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