The Pacific Northwest is seafood heaven with a dazzling variety of options, availability and creative methods of preparation. Over the years, I have enjoyed cooking with shellfish and have tried many different techniques. I developed this recipe after finding some inspiration online (thanks to the hundreds of recipes available for stuffed mussels). This delicious dish makes a great appetizer and will work well for a large group. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
1. When choosing mussels, be sure to look for ones that smell like the sea and have some moisture on them. I usually buy them the day I am planning on cooking them, but they can be kept for up to 2 days in the fridge. I usually purchase a few extras since some may not open and will need to be discarded.
2. Before cooking, scrub them clean and remove the beards.
3. If you can’t find lemon thyme, fresh thyme is a good substitute.
4. You can use store-bought breadcrumbs or make your own. I made my own using Dave’s Good Seed bread. Simply leave a slice of bread (or more) uncovered overnight or until dry. Place in a food processor and pulse until about pea size.
5. White wine can be substituted for Vermouth.
6. I prefer to use organic ingredients whenever possible; they are better for you, the farm workers, farm animals and the planet.
Serves 2 – 4
12 mussels, scrubbed clean and beards removed
1/2 cup white wine
2 sprigs lemon thyme
2 sprigs flat leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Combine the wine, herbs and garlic in a sauce pan, bring to a boil. Add the mussels and steam until they open, quickly removing them as they pop open. Set aside on a cutting board and discard the cooking liquid and any unopened mussels.
1 slice bacon, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup vermouth
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
Sprinkle of salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Finely grated parmesan – optional
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until slightly crisp. Add the butter, onion and garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until soft, about 3 – 5 minutes.
While the bacon is cooking, break the shells apart and gently cut the tendon that holds the mussel to the shell, leaving it in its shell, one shell half per mussel; discard the unused shells.
Deglaze the bacon mixture with vermouth and let reduce to about 2 tablespoons. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, half of the parsley, salt and pepper.
Place a small amount of the filling on top of each mussel and pack down slightly. Sprinkle a small amount of parmesan (if using) on top of each mussel. Place in a baking dish and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until slightly golden.
Place on a serving dish and garnish with the remaining parsley. Serve ASAP. Pairs nicely with a glass of Spanish Cava.
Special thanks to theTravelsketcher for his help in creating this dish; he particularly enjoyed taste testing the final product! 🙂
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