This is not your usual surf and turf- who says that is must be steak and prawns? Let me take you to Spain with my special twist: mussels and meatballs in saffron sauce!
Plump, juicy mussels and moist, flavoursome pork meatballs are en-robed in a golden saffron sauce. The sauce is rich with the flavour of the sea and the meatiness of the pork juices, along with the aroma of fresh thyme and bay leaves. A sprinkling of a diced ripe tomato and some zesty lemon juice adds the final bright notes to the dish!
The key these tender and juicy meatballs is the addition of moistened bread and not to over-mix the mince mixture. Along with some fresh chives, thyme, garlic, dried oregano, wholegrain mustard, and grated Parmesan, they are little spheres of deliciousness that burst in your mouth!
I recommend that you serve this with plenty of crusty bread, rice or even pasta to savour that amazing sauce – you wouldn’t want to leave a drop behind!
For the meatballs:
- 25g fresh white bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1-2 tbsp milk, as needed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- approx. 15g Parmesan, grated
- approx. 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
- 5g salt
- 1-2 tsp wholegrain mustard, to taste
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 egg yolk
- some fresh thyme leaves, minced
- some ground black pepper, to taste
- some runny honey, to taste
- 200g pork mince
For the broth:
- 10 fresh mussels
- 1 snapper head
- some dry white wine
- a few springs of fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- a small pinch of saffron
- some sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- some runny honey, to taste
- some fresh lemon juice or apple vinegar, to taste
- 1 tbsp flour roux
- 1 tomato, seeded and cut into small cubes
- some fresh parsley, to garnish
- Steam mussels until just opened. Remove the meat from the shell and reserve the mussel juices. Discard the shells.
- Heat some oil in a frying pan and pan-fry the snapper head until golden on both sides. De-glaze the pan with white wine and add in the bay leaves, some fresh thyme, saffron and a little water. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Reserve the stock and discard the snapper head and aromatics.
- In a bowl combine bread with 1 tablespoon of the milk and let stand until bread is completely moist, about 10 minutes. Mash with a spoon to make sure there are no dry spots; if there are dry spots add the rest of the milk.
- In a mixing bowl or food processor, combine together all of the meatball ingredients until thoroughly combined. Avoid mixing any more than necessary.
Using wet hands. shape meatball mixture into 8-10 balls.
Over medium-high heat, pan-fry meatballs until golden on all sides. De-glaze the pan with white wine. Add in fresh thyme and simmer until reduced and meatballs are cooked.
Transfer the meatballs onto a plate. Add to the frying pan the reserved fish stock and mussel juices. Taste and adjust seasoning with some salt, black pepper, lemon juice/ apple vinegar and honey as necessary.
Whisk in the flour roux cook gently until sauce is thickened. Return the meatballs and mussels to the pan to re-heat. Stir in the chopped tomato.
Garnish with some fresh parsley and serve immediately.