What do you do with an extra bowlful of mussels after everyone’s eaten his/her fill? (When Mont-Saint-Michel Bay mussels are in season (July – January), leftover mussels are pretty common in my house.)

Douse them in a quickie escabeche sauce and serve them as tapas/hors d’oeuvres.

This is a throw-together recipe of on-hand ingredients: olive oil, vinegar, garlic, smoked Spanish paprika and a couple of bay leaves. (It didn’t seem worth it to go to all the trouble of making something more elaborate just to recycle a handful of leftovers.) It will lend its flavor to the mussels in a couple of hours and preserve them for up to a week (though they’ll never last that long). The amounts are for 20 or so mussels and can be easily doubled or tripled for a bigger batch.

2 Tbs. / 30 ml. olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup / 80 ml mussel cooking liquid
2 Tbs. / 30 ml. wine, cider, or sherry vinegar (something with a little flavor)
20 to 30 cooked mussels, shelled

Place the olive oil, garlic, paprika, and bay leaf in a small saucepan, and heat over low heat until the garlic begins to sizzle. Add the mussel cooking liquid, and simmer 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vinegar. Cool the mixture 10 minutes, then pour over the shelled mussels in a jar or bowl. Cover, and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 7 days. Serve with toothpicks.