George Calombaris’s mussels spanakopita

Try this unusual take on mussels with garlic and wine, which incorporates fresh spinach leaves, chickpeas and ricotta and feta cheese, by MasterChef Australia judge George Calombaris.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes (excluding cooling time)

Cooking time: 25 minutes


50ml vegetable oil
12 large black mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
2 thinly sliced golden shallots
Thinly sliced half of a garlic clove
200ml white wine
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
1 (seeds removed) tomato
40g canned and drained chickpeas
50ml olive oil
finely chopped half a onion
1 crushed garlic clove
300g baby English spinach
80g crumbled ricotta
80g crumbled feta
white anchovies


For the ‘spanakopita’, heat olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté onion and garlic over low heat until soft and translucent (4-5 minutes). Add spinach and cook until just starting to wilt (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat, transfer to a colander and squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer to a bowl and cool, then add cheeses. Combine well and season with sea salt. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add mussels, shallots, garlic and wine, then cover and cook over high heat, shaking pan occasionally, until mussels open (3-4 minutes). Drain mussels, reserving 100 ml cooking liquid and discarding any unopened mussels. Cool, then cover and refrigerate until cold (1 hour). Preheat oven to 180°C. Fill each mussel with a tablespoon of ‘spanakopita’ mixture, then close shells and tie firmly shut with kitchen string.

Heat reserved mussel stock, chicken stock, tomato and chickpeas in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mussels and bring to a simmer, then bake, covered with lid, until heated through (5-6 minutes). Serve immediately with white anchovies, if desired.

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