The blue mussels harvested in the Atlantic coasts, are abundant in the waters around Long Island.
These mussels, with the characteristic dark
blue shell can grow to about 3 inches in length, which is the ideal size to make the stuffed
As usually, the mussels must be cleaned and
debearded when you are ready to cook them; until then keep mussels refrigerated in an open container, covered
with a wet rag or ice.
Make sure that the mussels are fresh and
they are tightly closed; they should be light, without sand inside; if they are open, they should instantly snap
shut when tapped. Also discard any mussel with broken or chipped shell.
Wild mussels must be washed with running
water and soaked in lightly salted water for at least 1 hour, to allow the mussels to breathe and to eject any
Carefully protect your hands if using a
knife to eliminate the beards and scrape the outside of the mussels to remove any incrustations on the shells.
The beard is a little string that the mussels use to anchor or to cling to rocks.
Transfer mussels into a bowl with cold
water, one at a time and use a small knife or a little brush, to check and remove any beard and any barnacles
Now mussels are ready for the last wash and
to be prepared.
Sometime ago, I tried the New Zealand Green
Shell Mussels, and I was surprised of the qualities of these mollusks: in fact to assure freshness as soon the
mussels are harvested they are blanched and frozen on the half shell, the flesh is tender, with a sweet taste,
they come cleaned, sand free and ready to use.
The New Zealand government has established rigid regulations to guarantee that the Green
Shell Mussels are farmed in clean pollution free sea waters and they are fed with natural food
The Green Shell Mussels are cultivated in
ropes for cleaner shells and grit free flesh.
Even though there is no difference in taste,
the color of the meat of the male mussel is creamy white, the flesh from a light pink to apricot identifies the
Serves 4 to 5
- 3 lb. mussels,
debearded, scrubbed and rinsed or 2lb. frozen Green
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoon of olive oil
- ½ cup of white wine (or water)
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 cloves of garlic pressed or finely chopped
- ½ cup of parsley, chopped
- ½ teaspoon of oregano
- Pinch of red crushed peperoncino flakes
- salt and pepper
- olive oil to drizzle over
- Lemon wedges for garnish
Wash the mussels in cold water and set
In a sauté pan, over a medium heat, place
two tablespoons of oil and 2 crushed cloves of garlic and with a wooden spoon squeeze the garlic into the oil to
release its flavor. When garlic is light golden discard; place the mussels and the wine or water into the pot.
Cover and steam for 2-3 minutes, continuously checking for open mussels: as they open, remove with a tong or a
slotted long-handled spoon and set on the side. Discard any unopened mussels. When cool, remove half shells from
each mussel and set the mollusk on the half shells in a baking tray.
If using the New Zealand Green Shell Mussels, set in a
baking tray; they are ready to be stuffed because they are clean, on the half shell and blanched.
In a skillet, over a medium heat, place 4
tablespoons of olive oil and the diced onion. Sauté the onion to a rich golden color and add the breadcrumbs,
keep turning until the breadcrumbs are toasted to a light brown color.
In a medium bowl, combine the onion and toasted breadcrumbs with the
finely chopped garlic, the parsley, oregano, peperoncino, salt and black pepper to taste.
Cover the mussels loosely in the half shell
with 1 slightly full teaspoon of the stuffing, do not pack down the stuffing.
Sprinkle any leftover stuffing on top,
drizzle with olive oil and add ¼ cup of water on baking tray; place under the broiler or bake at 400 degrees
until the top of the stuffing is golden brown.
Place mussels onto a platter, garnish with
lemon wedge and serve with a Californian chardonnay or a Sicilian Etna Bianco.