Friday, August 3, 2012

Chilli Lime Mussels & Broad Bean Salad with Green Olive Dressing

Chilli Lime Mussels with Green Olive & Broad Bean Salad 1

You could be forgiven for thinking that sounds like a rather unusual combination of ingredients.  Indeed I though the same thing myself when I first came across the recipe which inspired this post.

After my debut foray last week into trying out the recipes of Rick Bayless with the I Heart Cooking Clubs group, I was eager to give him another try and see if we could get a little better acquainted.

Our theme this week is "Green, Green, Green Is Everything I'm Wearing", and whilst most of my fellow bloggers in the group might have access right now to lots of lovely, exotic green things like tomatillos, jalapenos and cactus paddles, such is not the case here.

What to make?  I spent a few hours trawling through Rick's website looking for something suitable, but almost every recipe I looked at required some ingredient I couldn't access.  Now ordinarily that might not be such a big deal - after all, I can surely come up with a few substitutes - but, as it turned out, the thing that usually needed to be subbed out was the green thing.  And seriously, you can't front up to the green themed party without the green thing, now can you.

And then, just as I was about to give up all hope, I went to the section on Rick's Season 8 recipes and his recipe for Green Olive Dressed Salad with Mussels & Fava Beans simply jumped out at me.  After all, green olives I can do (I have jars full of them in my pantry);  salad is one of my preferred meal options any time of year;  broad beans (that's fava beans to many of you) - out of season here right now, but I have frozen ones on hand and they will do perfectly well;  and as for mussels - not only are these plentiful and inexpensive here, but we have New Zealand green-lipped mussels - now, take that for green!

Chilli Lime Mussels 1

The original recipe called for simply steaming the mussels, then chilling them, removing them from their shells, and serving them on the broad bean salad.  But I decided to go in a slightly different direction.  For starters, I'm not that fussed on cold mussels, and what's more I have been wanting to share my recipe for Chilli-Lime Mussels with you for ages.  So I decided to take Rick's green olive dressed broad bean salad (to which I also added some avocado) and to serve that as an accompaniment to the mussels.  I knew the two would work well together, and the chilli lime seasonings added to the mussels echo those in the salad.

I halved the quantities for the salad dressing, since I was only cooking for one, and still ended up with way more dressing than I needed.  Not that I'm sad about that - the dressing is fabulous and it will be finding it's way onto just about every meal for the next week!!  I also, as I did with last week's recipe, included some lemon juice in the dressing, rather than just the lime juice that was called for, because the limes here are expensive and just don't render that much juice.

Green Olive & Broad Bean Salad 1

A word about chillies.  The original recipe calls for poblano chillies, and no doubt where many of you live you may be able to buy chillies by variety.  Here in New Zealand, however, we don't get a great deal of choice - the chillies we usually see are generally long and skinny, they come in red or green, and occasionally orange, and are usually not very hot.

Chillies 1

On occasion we do seem to see other varieties of chillies, but they are not usually named, and available advice about them is generally very limited.  Case in point:  When I picked up my chillies for this dish at the supermarket yesterday, there were some I hadn't seen before in the chilli basket.  They were smallish, roundish and actually quite hard and fleshy.  They didn't have the kind of hollow, empty feel that a chilli usually has.

Chillies 2

Wanting a bit more information, I found some hapless staff member who was replenishing the banana area and asked him if they were chillies.  He confirmed that they were.  "What are they like?" I asked.  "Are they hot? Mild? Medium?"  He smiled sheepishly and said he didn't know.  "Well, is there someone here who does know?" I enquired.  The reply ... beat this ... "Nope.  Nobody knows.  Perhaps you can buy one and try it, then you can tell us."  I'm not kidding, that is exactly what he said.  A timely reminder, if one were ever needed, that if you really want to know what you're eating and where your food comes from, then the supermarket is probably not the place to find it.  So, if you can get poblano chillies then go for it - I used these long, skinny, red ones as that was what was available.  If you can identify them, I'd love to know what they are, and even more so, I'd love to know what that little, round one is.

Green Olive & Broad Bean Salad 3

Broad Bean Salad with Green Olive Dressing Recipe
Serves 1 for a light meal or 2-3 as a side dish
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

For the dressing:
1x chilli (poblano if you can get it)
2x cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
flaky sea salt

For the salad:
1x cup broad (fava) beans, frozen (by all means use fresh if you can get them)
1x avocado, flesh cut into chunks
2x large handfuls of salad greens
(I used a mixture of baby cos and spinach)

Begin by making the dressing.  Roast the chilli, either directly over a flame or under a hot grill, until blackened all over.  Remove from heat and drop into a plastic bag.  Close bag and set aside until the chilli is cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, put the garlic cloves into a small, dry skillet set over medium heat, and roast until the cloves have softened, and blackened in a few places.  Remove and set aside to cool.

Put the lime juice, lemon juice and olive oil into a blender.  Add half of the green olives, setting aside the rest for garnishing the salad later.

Remove chilli from plastic bag and rub off the blackened skin.  Cut off the stem and cut the chilli in half lengthwise.  Scrape out the seeds and membrane.  Roughly chop one half of the chilli and add it to the ingredients in the blender.  Set the other half aside for garnishing the salad.

Slip the skins off the garlic cloves.  Add to the blender along with a generous pinch of sea salt, and blend everything until smooth.

For the salad, bring a small pot of water to the boil, salt the water and then add the broad beans to the pot.  Bring water back to the boil, allow to boil for 1 minute, then drain and immediately plunge beans into a bowl of ice water.  Once they are cool enough to handle, slip the thick greyish skins off the beans and discard.  Set the beans aside in a small bowl.

Put the salad leaves into another bowl and toss lightly with the dressing, then transfer to a serving bowl or platter.  Scatter the broad beans and chunks of avocado over the top.  Finely slice the remaining chilli and sprinkle over the salad, along with the remaining green olives.  Finish with another drizzle of the dressing and serve immediately.

Green Olive & Broad Bean Salad 2

Chilli-Lime Mussels Recipe
Makes one very generous serving or
Serves 2 as an appetiser
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

18x green-lipped mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2x cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chilli jam
1x kaffir lime leaf or grated zest of 1x lime
1/2 cup white wine
fresh coriander leaves

First make sure that all your mussels are still "alive".  Before cooking, all of your mussels should be tightly shut.  If there are any that are open, give them a sharp tap on the side of the sink (or bowl) - if they're healthy they should close up.  If they stay open, discard them immediately.  Similarly, once cooked, if there are any mussels that remain closed, they too should be discarded.

Heat olive oil in a large pan (I use a large skillet which has a lid) over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, and as soon as it becomes fragrant add the chilli jam, lime leaf or zest, and white wine.  As soon as the wine begins to boil, add the mussels and cover.  Cook until the mussels have opened, shaking the pan from time to time - this will only take about 5 minutes.

As soon as the mussels have opened, remove to a serving bowl, pour over a few spoonfuls of the broth, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Chilli Lime Mussels 2

If you would like to get to know Rick a little better, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all cooked up ...

Rick Bayless @IHCC button rounded

I'm also sharing this post this week with a couple of lovely friends ... Deb at Kahakai Kitchen, hosting Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays and Michelle at Ms. enPlace, hosting See Ya In the Gumbo.



  1. A beautiful salad, Sue! And the green-lipped mussels looks absolutely gorgeous! Mussels are expensive over here! And I see that you've used your chili jam for the mussels, looks delicious! You did a beautiful pairing of the mussels and the salad, look absolutely delicious, perfect with a glass of wine!

    1. Thanks, Joyce - it was indeed perfect with a glass of wine - nice pinot gris actually. Interesting that mussels are expensive over there, as they are just about one of the cheapest things you can get to eat here. Aquaculture of these mussels is very big here, and of significant economic importance to New Zealand. I can get them at my seafood market for about NZ$4.20 per kilo.

  2. Nicely presented. I like many of the ingredients you have here. Especially avocado. Love those!
    I need to get back into your Cookbook Sunday series soon!

    1. Thanks, Tina. It is a nice combination of ingredients. Like you I love avocado, and they were a great addition to the salad - the creaminess was a nice textural contrast as well to the broad beans and the olives.

      Sorry, but I'm not doing Cookbook Sundays any more - just don't have the time to really do it justice. Still hoping someone will pick it up though.

  3. Hi Sue! Those green lipped mussels are gorgeous. Very, very, pretty. I too love olives and the idea of an olive dressing is very appealing to me. Gorgeous!

    1. Thanks, Kim - the green-lipped mussels are very pretty aren't they. Hope you give the green olive dressing a try - it is really, really good - actually if I wasn't treasuring it to go on every salad that is going to cross my table over the next week, I would drink it!!

  4. You put together a great dish for lacking green things--very pretty! The mussels are stunning.

    The long thin ones almost look like cayenne peppers to me. I've never seen the round chilies before.

    1. Thanks, Michelle. I was actually pretty pleased with how much "green stuff" I actually managed to get into one meal in the end.

      I'm seriously envious of those of you who can get things like tomatillos and cactus paddles though - I would so love to try those things. Maybe Mexico beckons!!

      I wondered if the skinny chillies were cayenne peppers. When I looked up chilli varieties on the internet those were certainly the ones they most closely resembled. They definitely have very minimal heat though.

  5. The mussels sounds great Sue and I love broad beans in salads and garden peas!

    1. Thanks, Alli. Frozen broad beans and peas are a great way of getting something summery into a salad in the middle of winter. I love to use them in risotto too.

  6. LOL, he did NOT say that! I would have asked him if I could try one right then and there - for free - then he would know ;P . These mussels sound fantastic and I'm gonna admit, they are the MOST GORGEOUS MUSSELS I HAVE EVER SEEN! Seriously - that color! I'm gonna have to make these...mussels are my hubs favorite.

    1. I kid you not ... without a word of a lie ... that is exactly what he said. I thought of many things to tell him after the event, but at the time I was too dumbfounded.

      Thanks for your kind words about the mussels - I think nature must take the credit for their beauty though, not me. Anyway, I hope you give them a try and that your hubbie likes them.

  7. I haven't had mussels in a while and I love how you made them in this incredible salad. I usually only have them in pasta. And your own chili jam...yum! Perfect Friday night dinner with a glass of wine:)

  8. It looks delicious! I've never seen a chilli that looked like that round one.

  9. How gloriously green! I have trouble finding a lot of Rick's ingredients too. No tomatillos or cactus anything to be found in my part of Canada.
    I love that even your mussels are green tinged- beautiful!
    I'd love to see your country one day.

  10. Wow, Sue! I love the pretty green lipped mussels, which we can never get here, in S. Florida. Love the pretty green combo salad you've made with it. Your chilli peppers in the bright red colors are awesome...BTW, when I tried to comment on your blog with the chilli jam, my computer froze up, and just would/could not send the comment.(had to shut the whole thing off)...although, I was able to pin it on Pinterest, prior to commenting!

  11. I love how you made it work even though there's not much green where you are now! Looks like a great salad no matter the season!

  12. This looks perfect Sue--so fresh, green and utterly delicious. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays too. ;-)

  13. Amazing dressing!!! That salad looks wonderful :)
    Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  14. The whole package looks gorgeous, Sue! Broad beans give such a great pop of colour over dark winters. And I TOTALLY share your frustration about chillis - I never feel like I know what I'm buying... either paying through the nose for long red mild chillis, or buying eye-watering birds eye chillis from the market when I can get them (once in a blue moon)!

  15. The colors are beautiful. You have indeed gotten to know Rick. GREG


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