This seafood snack is sold at street stalls over Istanbul. The tarator is made from white bread, walnuts, Greek-style yoghurt and dill.
- 1 kg mussels, scrubbed, bearded
- 330 ml bottle cold lager
- vegetable or rice bran oil, to deep-fry
- 2 eggwhites
- 100 g self-raising flour
- plain flour, to dust
- 30 g slice white bread, crusts removed
- 50 g (½ cup) walnuts
- 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 140 g (½ cup) Greek-style yoghurt
- ¼ cup finely chopped dill, plus extra, to serve
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink match Raki and beer can be served with this dish, but also try a 2010 Brokenwood Hunter Valley Semillon ($23), a 2010 Andrew Thomas Braemore Semillon ($27) or the Taltarni Sparkling Brut ($19).
To make tarator, soak bread in water for 5 minutes, then squeeze out water. Process walnuts in a food processor to fine crumbs. Add bread, garlic, lemon juice and tahini, season with salt and process until combined. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in yoghurt, dill and oil, and season with salt and pepper. Add water for a thinner consistency, if desired. Refrigerate until needed. Makes 1½ cups.
Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add mussels and 60 ml (¼ cup) of the beer and cover. Cook, shaking pan, for 1 minute or until shells have slightly opened. Drain, remove mussels from shells, then drain on paper towel.
Fill a deep-fryer one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds).
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, whisk eggwhites to stiff peaks. Place self-raising flour in a large bowl, then gradually whisk in remaining 270 ml beer, then eggwhites. Place plain flour in a separate bowl. Season. Working in 3 batches, dust mussels in seasoned flour, shake off excess, then coat in batter. Fry for 2 minutes or until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Whisk batter between each batch to aerate.
Season mussels and serve with tarator, scattered with extra dill.
Photography by Anson Smart.
As seen in Feast magazine, Sept 2011, Issue 1. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.