Fried Mussels with Nut Sauce

  • Active Time 30m
  • Total Time 30m

Serves 4-8

These crispy mussels are a popular menu item at the street stands that line busy wharves and open-air markets throughout Turkey. The accompanying nut sauce, known as tarator, can be thickened with hazelnuts (filberts) or almonds in place of the walnuts; it is also good served with cooked vegetables and fish.


  • For the Nut Sauce:
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 40 large mussels in the shell
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying


Soak 10 small wooden skewers in water to cover for at least 30 minutes.


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet, and place in the oven until toasted and fragrant, 8-10 minutes. Let cool, then place in a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender. Add the garlic and bread crumbs, and use rapid on-off pulses to combine. Add the olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice and purée until smooth; thin to a spoonable consistency with water, if necessary. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more vinegar or lemon juice, if needed; transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

Discard any mussels that do not close to the touch, then scrub the mussels well under running water.

Pour water to a depth of 1 inch in a large, wide sauté pan and add the mussels. Place over high heat, cover and cook until the mussels open, 3-4 minutes. Drain the mussels and discard any that have not opened. Remove the mussels from their shells, gently pulling off their beards. Drain the skewers and thread 4 mussels on each skewer.

In a wide, shallow bowl, combine the water and flour, and stir to make a thin batter. Set aside.

In a deep frying pan or wok, pour in peanut oil to a depth of 2-3 inches. Heat to 375 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer (or until a tiny bit of the batter dropped into the oil sizzles immediately).

Working in batches, dip the mussel-loaded skewers into the batter, then slip them into the oil. Fry, turning as needed, until golden on all sides, 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain. Keep warm until all the mussels are cooked.


Arrange the skewers on a serving dish. Serve hot with the sauce on the side.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 2235

nutrition information per serving

419 calories; 23g total fat; 28mg cholesterol; 380mg sodium; 35g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 18g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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