Mussel croquettes on the shell

Mussel croquettes on the shell

Mejillones tigre

Spanish Made Simple

When it comes to great recipes, some are simple while others are a bit more labour intensive, but worth it! This is one of my top 10 favourite tapas recipes. A shellfish béchamel croquette, seafood flavours, creamy texture inside, crispy bite on the surface… you know what I mean.


Quantity Ingredient
50ml white wine
1 bay leaf
1kg mussels, Cleaned and any open or damaged shells discarded
50g butter
8 spring onions, finely chopped
1 dried cayenne chilli pepper
800ml whole milk
110g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
A pinch grated nutmeg
A pinch ground white pepper
2 eggs
100g dried breadcrumbs
sea or rock salt flakes
sunflower oil, For deep­ frying


  1. Put the wine and bay leaf into a deep pan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Add the clean mussels to the pan, cover and cook for about 3 minutes, until they open. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mussels from the pan, retaining the cooking liquid. Set aside the mussels to cool, retaining the juices released from the shells. Once warm, separate the meat from the shells and remove any filaments as you will be using the shells for serving later. Finely chop the meat and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat and add the spring onions and cayenne pepper (yes, someone will end up eating this without realizing. Surprise!). Cook for a few minutes until the onions turn transparent but not brown.
  3. Meanwhile, pour the milk into a separate pan over a medium-high heat with 100ml of the cooking liquid. Bring almost to the boil, then take off the heat and set aside.
  4. Add 60g of the flour to the spring onions and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the flour has toasted a little. Add the hot milk mixture, a ladleful at a time, whisking and stirring constantly until all the liquid is added to the pan and you have a silky smooth white sauce. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low, scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally to stop the sauce from catching and burning. If you think this has happened and the sauce smells smoky, pour it into a clean pan to continue cooking but avoid scraping up the burnt bits in the bottom of the pan.
  5. After 30 minutes of cooking over a low heat, add the chopped mussels, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, whisking and stirring from time to time. Taste and season to your liking.
  6. Line a roasting tray with parchment paper and pour the béchamel into it. Spread out the sauce and place a layer of plastic wrap directly over the top to stop a skin forming. Refrigerate for about 2 hours to cool completely and set.
  7. Once the sauce is set well enough to handle, remove the plastic wrap and use a tablespoon to fill the mussel shells with the sauce. Overload them a little bit, don’t be shy. They should be set well enough that the sauce doesn’t slip out of the shells.
  8. Beat the eggs and tip them into a shallow bowl. Spread out the remaining 50g flour on one plate and the breadcrumbs on another plate. Dip the béchamel side of each shell first into the flour, then the egg and then into the breadcrumbs and set aside on a clean plate. At this point you can chill again in the fridge or even freeze them for future use.
  9. Heat the oil to 180°C in a large deep pan. Drop the mussels into the hot oil for a couple of minutes until they are golden and crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. It is best to do this in batches so that the oil doesn’t cool down too much. Serve sprinkled with sea salt.
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