Americans visiting Spain for the first time often mistakenly think that the food will be hot and spicy, like Mexican cuisine. But, in fact, Spanish food, although very full flavored, is relatively mild. This spicy mussel stew is one of the exceptions and is spicy indeed (tigres means tigers and rabioso means rabid or violent or, in the case of food, hot). You can increase the piquancy by adding more chile flakes, but beware: It’s easier to increase the heat later than to scale it back once you’ve finished cooking.
For the mussels:
Beverage pairing: Albariño Valmiñor, Spain. With spice, heat, herbs, and sweetness, this dish has a lot going on. The wine should lay in the background, supporting the flavors with good acidity and purity of fruit. Albariño is always a good bet, and this one will taste like a little extra lemon squeezed over the mussels.
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