It’s been only 2 weeks since I cooked the Purple Corn Peruvian Paella, but I found that I was still craving the smell and taste of the ocean. What to do? Only one thing — pick up some mussels at Bi-Rite Market, steam them, and serve them the Peruvian way, the one and only “Chalaca” way.
“Chalaca” is a term that refers to the port city of Callao, just west of Lima, and in Peru we call these mussels “Choros a la Chalaca.” Simple to make, these mussels served on the half shell are the perfect vehicle for a special hot sauce made with lime juice, onions, tomatoes, and the uniquely Peruvian aji amarillo hot pepper. ¡Buen Provecho!
INGREDIENTS FOR THE STOCK
- 12 mussels
- 1 cup fish stock
- 1/4 cup Pisco
- 1/2 teaspoon butter
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE
- 1/2 red onion, about 1/2 cup diced
- tomato, about 1/2 cup diced
- 1/2 teaspoon aji amarillo
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- juice of 2 limes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 tablespoons of reserved cooking stock
INGREDIENTS FOR THE GARNISH
- fresh parsley, about 1 tablespoon chopped
- fresh cilantro, about 1 tablespoon chopped
In addition to the ingredients above, you’ll need a pan with lid to steam the mussels and a bowl to make the sauce.
- Clean the mussels and discard any that are open.
- Dice the onion and tomato, chop the parsley and cilantro, and prepare the fish stock with Pisco and butter.
- Steam the mussels in a pan with the fish stock, partially covered. Remove from pan when done, discard any mussels that didn’t open, and reserve the cooking stock.
- Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl, including the reserved cooking stock that was used to steam the mussels.
- Break the mussels in half, and discard the empty shells. Arrange the mussels on the half shells on a serving plate.
- Spoon some sauce on each half shell and garnish with chopped parsley and cilantro.
For convenience, you can use a bouillon fish stock, but reserve the fish stock with the butter and Pisco that was used to cook the mussels, as it will be added to the sauce that is spooned over the mussels.