Mussels au gratin
- 45 min
- Kcal 290
Apulia is famous for its beautiful beaches and the fresh fish catches landed every morning on the harborsides of its towns and villages, along with mussels, sea urchins, and a host of other seafood delicacies. Although restaurants often prefer to serve raw fish, fried mussels is a traditional seafood appetizer that deserves a place on any menu. Most recipes for mussels involve opening the shellfish by cooking, as is the case with impepata di cozze (peppered mussels). But to make fried mussels, you must first open them, then stuff them, and finally fry them… only in this way will they stay tender and release all their wonderful flavor! Fried mussels are perfect to serve as an appetizer while still steaming hot, but they are also delicious at room temperature and you can use them as part of an authentic Apulian spread.
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To make fried mussels, you first need to clean them. Once you have scrubbed the shells clean with a scouring pad and removed the beard inside1, open them while they are still raw. To do this, simply hold the mussel with your left hand, slide the blade of a small knife between both halves of the shell and push outward 2. Then separate the two halves of the shell, leaving them still attached 3.
Put the opened mussels in a colander that you have placed over a bowl and carry on opening the other mussels 4. Now make the stuffing: set the colander containing the mussels to one side, then the the water released by the mussels 5 and add the coarsely crumbled bread 6.
Knead everything together with your hands 7, then add the Parmigiano Reggiano DOP cheese 8 and the finely chopped parsley 9.
Add another cup (40 g) or so of breadcrumbs 10 and the eggs 11. Blend everything until the mixture is uniform 12.
Season with salt and pepper 13 to taste. Now you need to fine-tune the consistency of the mixture by adding more breadcrumbs to compensate for the water released by the mussels until the consistency is dry and firm. Arrange the mussels on a tray and fill with approximately 1 teaspoon of the freshly prepared mixture 14, then pack the mixture down and re-close the shells slightly 15.
When you have filled all the mussels 16, heat the oil to 340°F (170°C). When it is hot, submerge a few mussels at a time using a slotted spoon 17. Take great care because the oil may splash out at this stage. After about 3-4 minutes when the mussels are golden brown, remove them with the slotted spoon and drain them 18.
Transfer the mussels to a sheet of paper towel 19 and continue frying all the others 20. Serve your fried mussels while they are still hot 21!
We recommend eating the fried mussels right away. If you prefer, you can stuff the mussels a few hours earlier, store them in the refrigerator, and fry them at the last minute.
Nothing can compare with fried mussels, but if you prefer to make this recipe in the oven, you can bake the mussels in a conventional oven at 400°F (200°C) for approximately 20 minutes.