Every summer, for 37 years I have spent at least a week on holiday in Puglia to visit family. The older I’m getting, the more appreciative I am of the cooking, ingredients and recipes that I come across. I always try to taste something new on every visit to broaden my Puglian food knowledge and tick dishes off my list. I enjoyed eating This dish, potato rice mussel oven bake at a restauran a couple of years ago. Such a hearty but light dish celebrating the food of the sea. As this dish is from Bari, my family would never have cooked this at home as they are from Salento and as Italians are, hey stick to their own local dishes.
Such a great seafood dish and perfect for pescatarians. It really draws on the Puglian Adriatic coast home cooking and only has a handful of main ingredients. I read about 5 different versions of this recipe, all with their different tweaks. Here is my tried and tested version.
- 500g mussels, cleaned and rinsed
- Olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 25g Parmesan, grated
- 25g Pecorino romano, grated
- Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
- 250, cherry/pomodorini/datterini tomato, quartered
- 1kg Potato, peeled and finely sliced, 0.5-1 cm thick
- 2 courgette, finely sliced, 0.5-1 cm thick
- 180g arborio rice
- 500ml vegetable stock
- Ground black pepper
- First we cook the mussels. Place mussels in a saute pan; cook on a medium heat , cover and cook for 3 mins until they open. Ensure to give the pan a shake half way through. Retain the mussel water and place to one side.
- Remove the top shell of the mussel, so that the valve sits in the bottom shell.
- Now in an oven proof dish/pan, heat a drizzle of olive and brown the crushed whole garlic clove for a couple of minutes on a low/medium heat.
- Then add the onion, soften for a couple of minutes and add the chopped tomatoes.
- Then sprinkle half the parsley, half parmesan and pecorino.
- Add a layer of sliced potato on top
- Add a layer of sliced courgette.
- Place the mussels in the shell on top
- Sprinkle the rice evenly over the mussels. Pour the mussel water and stock carefully, ensure it covers the rice.
- Place another layer of potato and sprinkle with the remaining parsley, parmesan and pecorino. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 40 minutes. Ensure the dish is covered for the first 20 mins and uncovered for the rest. This will give the bake a lovely crispy top.
- Leave to rest for 20 minutes before serving your potato rice mussel oven bake