Pilafi Me Mythia (Mussel Pilaf)

Course : Greek
Serves: 6
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1 1/2 kilograms fresh mussels
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion -- finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups short grain rice
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 bunch parsley sprigs
6 slices lemon wedges

Preparation / Directions:

Serves: 6 Cooking time: 45 minutes Scrub mussels with a stiff brush, scraping shells with a knife blade to clean them thoroughly. Tug beard towards pointed end to remove. Place in a bowl of lukewarm salted water until mussels open. If any are open to begin with, tap shell - if mussel does not close, then discard it. While mussels are open, run lukewarm water into the bowl so that any sand can be expelled from the mussels. Drain. Heat oil and butter in a deep pan and add onion. Fry gently until transparent. Add mussels, cover pan and cook for 5 minutes until shells open. If any do not open, then discard them. Add 3 cups cold water, wine, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste. Cover pan and bring to a slow simmer. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, then remove mussels with a slotted spoon. Wash rice until water runs clear, then add to liquid in pan with the parsley. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover pan tightly and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. While rice is cooking scoop mussels from shells and reserve. Keep 6 mussels in the shell for garnish. Put shelled mussels on top of rice. Place two paper towels over rim of pan and fit lid on firmly. Leave on low heat for further 5 minutes, then remove pan to side of stove and leave for 10 minutes. Blend mussels through rice with a fork and pile pilaf in a dish. Garnish with reserved mussels, parsley sprigs and lemon wedges. Note: 1/2 cup tomato puree (not paste) may replace 1/2 cup water for a different flavor.

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