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l/4 cup water

48 mussels (2 lbs.) rinsed well

l-l/2 cups fresh bread crumbs from italian bread

l/4 cup olive oil

l/4 cup good parmesan

3 large cloves garlic, minced

l/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

l/4 tsp. dried oregano

l/8 tsp. salt

Heat oven 450. Bring water with mussels to a boil in 5-qt. heavy pot, covered, then boil, shaking pot occasionally for 3-4 mins. until mussels open up, Transfer to bowl with slotted spoon reserving cooking liquid and cool to room temp.

Put 48 half mussel shells with mussels attached in a large shallow baking pan (discard other halves) and drizzle with some of reserved cooking liquid.

Stir together remaining liquid then top each mussel with about l tsp. of mixture. Bake until crumbs are golden and crisp about 5 mins.

Bread crumb topping may be made without parsley 3 days ahead and chilled and covered. Stir in parsley before using.

Mussels can be assembled (but not baked) 4 hrs. ahead and covered and chilled.

Serves 8 as an appetize. Gourmet May 2008

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