Mussel lovers, meet your new favorite party appetizer. I’m not even that much of a mussel fan, but when I saw photos of these pretty Peruvian dish, I knew I had to make it. Mussels get topped with a fresh and simple corn salsa and served on the half shell. They’re simple, tastes great and are one heck of an attractive dish, if I do say so myself.
Most Choros à la Chalaca recipes call for fresh, live mussels or frozen, pre-cooked mussels on the half-shell. I thought I’d bought the latter, but as it turns out, the New Zealand mussels I’d bought were actually uncooked. I popped them in the oven per the instructions on the box, but steaming is more traditional, and probably better, way to cook them (I wrote out the instructions below using the steaming method).
And although serving them on the half shell is clearly the most photogenic way to serve the mussels, you can also pop everything into a large bowl if you’re short on space or need to take the dish to-go. In that case, you can either leave the mussels whole, or give them a rough chop for more even distribution and smaller bites.
Choros à la Chalaca- Peruvian Mussels with Corn Salsa
Yield: 4-6 servings
* 24 New Zealand greenshell Mussels, defrosted in the refrigerator if using the pre-cooked frozen variety
* 1 corn cob, shucked
* 1/2 red onion, diced
* 2 Jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and diced
* 1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
* 2-3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
* salt and pepper
* lime wedges to serve (optional)
Scrub and de-beard the mussels. Discard any that are open and do not close when tapped. Place in a large pan with a thin layer of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for about 4-5 minutes until the shells have opened. Drain the mussels (you can save the liquid for seafood stock) and discard any that failed to open. When cool enough to handle, remove one side of each shell and cut the mussel away from the bottom shell to loosen it. Omit these steps if using frozen, pre-cooked mussels.
In a large covered pot, boil the corn for 8-10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, slice off the kernels. Place the corn in a bowl with the onion, chile peppers, parsley, lime juice and salt and pepper. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Arrange the mussels on a serving plate or platter. Scoop a little of the corn salsa on top of each mussel and serve with lime wedges on the side (optional).