Giovanni Ardizzoni, owner of Letojanni’s Da Nino restaurant, told me the secret to their baked mussels is moisture-absorbing pan carré, or crisped crumbs, not so different from Pepperidge Farm white bread. You can use these seasoned bread crumbs for baked stuffed clams or baked oysters.–Toni Lydecker
Baked Mussels with Crisped Bread Crumbs Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 40 M
- Makes 6 appetizer servings
- 1 cup medium breadcrumbs, from fresh or slightly stale white bread (see Notes)
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds small rope-farmed mussels (about 4 dozen), cleaned
- 1. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, parsley, and garlic. Season with salt and a few grindings of pepper. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix until the breadcrumbs are moistened.
- 2. Place the mussels in a large skillet. Cook over high heat, covered, shaking the pan often, and removing the mussels to a baking pan or rimmed sheet as they start to open. (Because the mussels will be baked, they should be heated just long enough to force the shells open.) Snap off the top shells and arrange the mussels so they support each other rather than tilting to one side.
- 3. Drizzle any cooking liquid from the pan into the shells. Spoon the seasoned breadcrumbs over the mussels, packing them gently into the shells. Drizzle the mussels with a little more olive oil (they can stand at room temperature for up to 1 hour at this point).
- 4. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Cook the mussels on the top rack of the oven just until the breadcrumbs brown, about 10 minutes. Serve the mussels warm or at room temperature.
To make breadcrumbs
- Place 1 or 2 slices of bread, torn into several pieces, in a food processor bowl. Process until reduced to medium-size crumbs. If the breadcrumbs are fresh, dry them slightly in a dry skillet or a toaster oven set on low heat.
- The allotment of seasoned breadcrumbs is fairly frugal, ensuring a crisp topping; for a more ample but breadier filling, make an additional half recipe of the stuffing.
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Baked Mussels with Crisped Bread Crumbs Recipe © 2009 Toni Lydecker. Photo © 2009 Tina Rupp. All rights reserved.