- 4 dozen fresh mussels
- Cayenne pepper
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1 medium red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeded
- Juice from one lemon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Crystal Hot Sauce, to taste
- Worcestershire Sauce, to taste
- Solid vegetable shortening for deep-frying
- Creole seasoning
- Prepare the smoker.
- Season the mussels with salt. Place on the smoking rack and close tightly. Smoke for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the mussels open. Remove the mussels from the smoker and remove the meat from the shells. Season with cayenne pepper. Set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of the garlic, roasted red pepper, lemon juice and mustard. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. With the machine running, add 1 cup of oil in a steady stream. Process until the mixture is thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Remove and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The aioli can be made one day in advance.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and season with salt and cayenne. Saute for about 3 minutes or until slightly wilted. Add the remaining tablespoon of garlic and continue to saute for 1 minute. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Make a batter by combining the remaining 3 eggs, milk, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, beating and incorporating until all is used and the batter is smooth. Stir in the parsley. Season with hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce to taste. Roughly chop the mussels and fold into the batter. Mix well. Heat the shortening to 360 degrees. Drop the batter, a heaping tablespoon at a time, into the hot oil. When the fritters pop to the surface, roll them around with a slotted spoon in the oil to brown evenly. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with Creole seasoning. Serve the fritters hot with the aioli.
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