Stuffed Mussels with a Light Italian Style Salsa

These are impressive bite size delights and is a great way to get a novice shellfish eater hooked on eating mussels! There’s a lot of flavor and you won’t be able to eat just one, so make quite a few!   Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil is being used and can be purchased in The Shop or in a sampler package – Mantova Organic Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Basil, Garlic, Lemon and Chili).  I also recommend HEB’s Central Market Organics Collection, Sonoma Farm or Sciabica’s.Yields 24 individual mussels. Recipe can easily be increased to accommodate larger groups. See “Chatty Advise” below before buying or making mussels.

Ingredients

Mussels
24 mussels
1 cup of white wine
Breading
2 tablespoons of melted butter
2 Dorot brand garlic cubes or 2 garlic cloves crushed through a garlic press
½ cup of seasoned Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salsa
1 ripe roma tomatoes finely diced
3 sprigs of basil, cut using the chiffonade technique
Sprinkle of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of lemon infused oil or regular olive oil
Additional basil sprigs for garnish depending how you will be plating the dish

Technique

Thoroughly and quickly rinse mussels. Place mussels and wine into medium sized pot on high heat and cover. Once mussels open, pour all contents from pot into strainer. All of the mussels should be opened. If not discard them.  Crack off one part of the mussel shell and discard the other half. Place mussel into remaining shell and place onto a cookie sheet. Repeat with all mussels. Once done, transfer mussels to refrigerator. In a small skillet melt butter and garlic. Once melted pour into a small mixing bowl, along with the breadcrumbs and the lemon infused oil or regular olive oil. Mix thoroughly until all breadcrumbs are moist. Remove mussels and place about a ½ teaspoon of the bread crumb mixture over each mussel and place back onto cookie sheet. Put back into refrigerator until ready to serve. In a small bowl, combine roma tomatoes, basil, kosher salt and lemon infused oil or regular olive oil. Mix and set aside for serving. When ready to serve, place the cookie sheet with mussels on top rack of oven on high broil for 3-5 minutes. Check every so often, to make sure they do not burn. Once browned, remove and place on a serving dish with the fresh Italian salsa.

Suggested Beverage

Try Ferrari Carano Chardonnay (Alexander Valley), Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch Chardonnay (Livermore Valley) or Straccali Chianti (Tuscany) .

Chatty Advice

Mussel must be kept alive until they are cooked. So do not suffocate them in a plastic bag or drown them by soaking them in water. As soon as coming home from the grocery store, empty the bag of mussels into your sink. Thoroughly but quickly rinse all of the mussels. Then let them drain, put into an uncovered baking dish and refrigerate until ready to cook them. When rinsing the mussels, any with cracked shells should be discarded. If you find any that will not close when handled, discard them as well, because they are dead. They will open to breath but once touched or are moved around they should close. If in doubt smell them. They will probably have a bad odor if they are dead. When mussels are cooked they should open. If some mussels did not open after cooking them, discard them. However, if half did not open they may not have been cooked long enough.

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