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