Baked Mussels with Mozzarella & Pancetta
Provided by Mel & Sheryl London
A hint of smoky Italian pancetta and delicate mozzarella are mixed with garlic and parsley flavored bread crumbs to top each succulent baked mussel.
- 1 ounce pancetta, finely diced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 18 to 20 large mussels, such as New Zealand Greenlip, scrubbed and de-bearded (Substitute: Cherrystone Clams or large Littlenecks)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons coarse dry breadcrumbs or Panko
- 1 medium garlic clove, finely minced (1 teaspoon)
- 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
- 3 to 4 drops Tabasco sauce
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 to 4 large basil leaves, finely shredded
Saute the pancetta in a small skillet until crisp. Drain and blot on paper towels and set aside. In a wide skillet, add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the mussels to the skillet in one layer. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes until the mussels open, sliding the pan back and forth occasionally over the burner. Discard any mussels that do not open.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a plate to cool. Strain the broth through a paper coffee filter and set aside. When the mussels are cool enough to handle, discard the top shell and loosen the mussel meat in their bottom shells.
Transfer to a baking dish and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the mozzarella, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Tabasco, salt & pepper in a small bowl. Add only enough reserved mussel broth to moisten the mixture. (You can freeze the remaining broth for another use.) Spoon this mixture evenly over the mussels and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes, then heat the broiler and transfer the baking dish to broil for 1 minute, until the cheese is melted and dappled with brown.
MEL & SHERYL LONDON are the authors of eleven cookbooks, including “A Seafood Celebration” and “The Fish Lovers” Cookbook.” They are winners of the James Beard Award and the Tastemaker Award and were finalists for the IACP Cookbook Award for “The Gourmet Garage Cookbook.” They have been loyal and loving customers of The Lobster Place since the company first opened its doors in Chelsea Market.