Spring Bay Mussels

Australia is blessed with cool-climate regions with terrific shellfish. Tasmania produces really diverse and world-class food products because of its unique fertile climate. On a recent trip I visited Spring Bay and the mussels, which are large and healthy due to the nutrient-rich water, were absolutely amazing!

This sauce is underpinned by the smoky chipotle chillies in the adobo sauce. Allow your imagination to run wild and try adding chorizo, strips of piquillo peppers, corn (tortilla) chips, cherry tomatoes and coriander (cilantro), then you’ll have chilaquiles!

Spring Bay Mussels

Ingredients and Methods

10 min *
15 min
* Additional time required if making all the ingredients yourself


  • 1.5kg mussels (washed & cleaned of any excessive sea debris)
  • 500ml dark Mexican beer
  • 500ml adobe sauce
  • 200g celery, finely shaved
  • 100g cooked black or red quinoa
  • 1 large handful of oregano leaves, roughly chopped

For the garnish

  • 1 large handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • some olive oil


Preheat a large pot with a lid over high heat, until intensely hot.

Add the mussels and beer, cover and cook for 3­–5 minutes, until the mussels just begin to open.

Add the adobe sauce and bring to the boil, by then the mussels should be fully open.

Working quickly, to not overcook the mussels, add the celery, quinoa and oregano and cook for 4 minutes.

To serve, remove the mussels from the sauce and place in a serving dish. Check the flavour of the sauce and reduce or season as required, to make a rich broth. Ladle the broth over the mussels.

Combine the parsley leaves and radish in a small bowl, dress and toss with a little oil, to coat.

Scatter the mussels with the parsley and radish, to garnish.

Quick tip – for a fast adobe sauce, blend the 50 g of chipotle in adobo sauce with 500 g of tomato passata in a food processor. Add a good pinch of sugar and splash of sherry vinegar to the pot with the beer. This will result in a pleasing sauce also.

Adobe Sauceto top

30 min
45 min


  • 3large red capsicums, halved lengthways
  • 1red onion, peeled & quartered
  • 1head garlic, peeled
  • 3long green chillies
  • ⅓ cup(80ml) olive oil
  • 2dried Guajillo chillies
  • 75g(approx 4 medium) dried chipotle chillies
  • 1large handful oregano leaves
  • 2 tbspsmoked paprika
  • 3 tspMexican spice blend
  • ½ cup(110 g) castor sugar
  • ½ cup(125 ml) sherry vinegar
  • pinchof sea salt, to taste


Preheat an overhead grill to high heat.

Place the capsicum, onion, garlic and chillies on a grill tray and grill, turning occasionally, for 10–15 minutes, until soft and charred black. Allow to cool slightly. Roughly chop.

Remove the stalks and roughly chop the guajillo and chipotle chillies, retaining the seeds.

Heat the oil in a medium heavy based saucepan over low heat.

Gently fry the chillies for 2–3 minutes, until they begin to colour. Add the charred vegetable mixture, oregano and spices and cook for a further 2 minute, or until fragrant. Add the sugar and wine and cook until the liquid reduces to a syrup.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Decrease the heat and gently simmer for 45 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce.

Transfer the mixture into a food processor, blender or vitamiser and blend, gradually adding a little water if required, to make a smooth sauce. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing & rubbing with the back of a spoon to ensure all of the sauce passes through. Season with salt.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Chef Paul Wilson

Credited with serving some of Australia’s most exciting food, Paul Wilson has been described as one of the most extraordinary culinary talents in the Commonwealth & continues to receive critical acclaim for crafting inspiring dishes that take an innovative approach to cuisine traditions. (more)

here to view all of Chef Paul Wilson's recipes.

Paul Wilson

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