When it comes to Spanish cuisine, one dish that stands out for its unique flavors and rich history is “Mejillones en Escabeche.” This traditional recipe combines the briny taste of mussels with a tangy marinade, resulting in a mouthwatering delicacy that has been enjoyed for centuries. In this article, we will explore the origins of this dish, its key ingredients, the cooking process, and some variations that you can try. So, let’s dive into the world of Mejillones en Escabeche!

The Origins of Mejillones en Escabeche

Mejillones en Escabeche has its roots in the Mediterranean region, where mussels are abundant and have been a staple food for centuries. The word “escabeche” itself comes from the Arabic word “sikbaj,” which means “acidic sauce.” This hints at the influence of Moorish cuisine on Spanish gastronomy.

The dish gained popularity during the Middle Ages when preserving food was essential for long sea voyages. The acidic marinade used in Mejillones en Escabeche helped to preserve the mussels, making them a valuable source of sustenance for sailors. Over time, the dish made its way into Spanish homes and became a beloved part of the country’s culinary heritage.

The Key Ingredients

Mejillones en Escabeche is a simple yet flavorful dish that requires a handful of key ingredients. Here are the main components:

  • Mussels: The star of the dish, mussels are the primary ingredient. Fresh mussels are preferred, as they provide the best flavor and texture.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar is a crucial component of the escabeche marinade. It adds acidity and helps to preserve the mussels.
  • Olive Oil: High-quality olive oil is used to sauté the mussels and create a rich base for the marinade.
  • Onions and Garlic: These aromatic ingredients add depth and flavor to the dish.
  • Herbs and Spices: Common herbs and spices used in Mejillones en Escabeche include bay leaves, thyme, paprika, and black peppercorns. These ingredients infuse the marinade with a delightful aroma.

The Cooking Process

Now that we know the key ingredients, let’s explore the step-by-step process of preparing Mejillones en Escabeche:

  1. Cleaning and Cooking the Mussels: Start by cleaning the mussels thoroughly under cold running water. Discard any mussels with broken shells or that do not close when tapped. In a large pot, steam the mussels until they open. Remove the mussels from their shells, discarding any that remain closed.
  2. Preparing the Marinade: In a separate pan, heat olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic until they become translucent. Add the vinegar, herbs, and spices, and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  3. Marinating the Mussels: Place the cooked mussels in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over them. Ensure that all the mussels are well-coated. Let the dish cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate it for at least a few hours, or preferably overnight. This allows the mussels to absorb the flavors of the marinade.
  4. Serving and Enjoying: Mejillones en Escabeche can be served as an appetizer or a main course. It is traditionally enjoyed cold or at room temperature. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with crusty bread to soak up the delicious marinade.

Variations to Try

While the classic recipe for Mejillones en Escabeche is delightful on its own, there are several variations that you can explore to add your own twist to this traditional dish. Here are a few ideas:

  • Adding Vegetables: Enhance the flavors and textures by adding vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or tomatoes to the marinade.
  • Spicing it Up: If you enjoy a bit of heat, consider adding chili peppers or a dash of hot sauce to the marinade.
  • Experimenting with Herbs: Try using different herbs like rosemary, oregano, or cilantro to infuse unique flavors into the dish.
  • Using Different Vinegars: While white wine vinegar is commonly used, you can experiment with other types of vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar, to create different flavor profiles.


1. Can I use frozen mussels for Mejillones en Escabeche?

While fresh mussels are preferred for their superior taste and texture, you can use frozen mussels if fresh ones are not available. Just make sure to thaw them properly before cooking.

2. How long can I store Mejillones en Escabeche?

When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, Mejillones en Escabeche can be enjoyed for up to 3-4 days. However, it is best consumed within the first couple of days to savor the flavors at their peak.

3. Can I serve Mejillones en Escabeche warm?

While Mejillones en Escabeche is traditionally served cold or at room temperature, you can certainly enjoy it warm if you prefer. Just remember that the flavors may differ slightly from the traditional preparation.

4. Are there any health benefits to eating Mejillones en Escabeche?

Mejillones en Escabeche offers several health benefits. Mussels are an excellent source of lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential minerals like iron and zinc. Additionally, the marinade contains vinegar, which has been associated with various health benefits, including improved digestion and blood sugar control.

5. Can I use other types of seafood for escabeche?

Absolutely! While mussels are the traditional choice for escabeche, you can experiment with other seafood like sardines, anchovies, or even shrimp. Each type of seafood will bring its own unique flavors to the dish.


Mejillones en Escabeche is a classic Spanish dish that combines the briny taste of mussels with


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