Mussels are tasty, stuffed mussels are tastier!
Here's a typical Ligurian recipe for seafood lovers: stuffed mussels!
More specifically this recipe originate in La Spezia, a port town in eastern Liguria near the border with Tuscany. Mussels nurseries are an integral part of the local economy as the conditions are ideal for shellfish in the Gulf of La Spezia. Mussels farms started in the area in the 19th century when oysters were also farmed. The latter were eventually abandoned in favor to mussel growth only. Local people tend to eat mussels very often and the demand becomes very high in the summer months with the influx of thousands of holiday maker flooding the area. The simplest way to enjoy mussels is to steam them with a bit of garlic, parsley and white wine but if you try them stuffed you'll never go back!
What you need!
To serve 4
The ingredients for the Stuffed Mussels recipes are:
Fresh mussels, in the shell (make sure the shells are closed. Discard any open ones)
about 2.5 Kg
For the stuffing:
2 bread buns
milk (about a glass)
Grated cheese 100 gr (I tend to use parmesan or pecorino)
100 gr cooked ham
100 gr mortadella (if you can't find it replace with more cooked ham)
2 garlic cloves
Black pepper (small pinch)
steamed mussels (by steaming 500 gr shelled mussels)
For the tomato sauce
Stuffed mussels are cooked and served with a simple tomato sauce
You'll need a few juicy tomatoes ( about 5 or 6) diced
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
Gently fry the parsley and garlic, add the tomatoes and some white wine ( about 200ml). Cook for only a couple of minutes as the mussels will be added and will need to cook for about 40 minutes in this sauce.
Here's how to
Put a couple of bread buns in a bowl and soak with milk for 10 min.
In the meantime take about 500 gr of the shelled mussels and put in fry pan with a little amount of water (do not cover the mussels, the water is only used so the pan doesn't burn) and heat until they open. Take out the shell and chop.
Finely chop the herbs, garlic, ham, mortadella. Add to the grated cheese and chopped mussels.
When the bread has soaked up the milk, drain to get rid of excess milk put in a bowl, add all the chopped ingredients, mix and add 2 eggs.Add a pinch of black pepper.
Take the remaining mussels. Clean the shells and pull off the bit of "rope" (see picture). Carefully open them with a knife making sure the 2 shells are still connected at the hinge. Stuff them with the mixture and close them (some people use a bit of sewing thread to secure them so they don't open during cooking).
Cook them by layer them flat on top of the tomato sauce and white wine in a large pan (I use a paella pan) for about 40 minutes!