Stuffed Italian Mussels

Mejillones Gayango, i.e., Stuffed Italian Mussels take a little work to prepare but are amazingly tasty. Serve them as part of antipasta selection, starter or light main with a side salad.

Italian Stuffed Mussels

Portions: 4 Portion

Ingredients

Mussels

  • 20 New Zealand (green lip) mussels, open halved*
  • 1 slice lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pancetta or thick cut streaky bacon, diced
  • 2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 75ml milk
  • Pinch maldon salt and freshly ground pepper
  • To Coat
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 200g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Oil for frying

To Serve

  • 3 plum or vine ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • Parsley leaves

Method

Place the mussels in a pan with 100ml water and 50ml of Noilly prat or dry white wine with a slice of lemon, cover and bring to the simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove the mussels from the pan.
  1. Remove the lemon and simmer until you have 75ml of the cooking liquid.
  2. Remove the mussels meat from the shell and set aside. Reserving the shells.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion to a moderate heat for and cook over a moderate heat until transparent, then add the pancetta and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until aromatic. Allow the mixture to cool.
  4. Place the mussels, pancetta mixture, tomato sauce and parsley in a food processor and blend briefly.
  5. Half fill the mussels with the mixture. Refrigerate while you prepare the sauce.

To make the sauce

  1. Melt the butter and add the flour in a saucepan over a moderate heat, cook the mixture while stirring with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes. Over the heat gradually add the stock and milk while stirring to stop lumps occurring. When all the stock and milk is added continue to cook while stirring until the mixture thickens (it should be quite thick). Season and remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Using a spoon, cover the filled mussels with the sauce, sealing the edges by smoothing with the cupped side of the spoon. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the sauce to set.
  3. Place the flour and eggs into separate containers (to dip the mussels). Mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese in a 3rd of a container. Place the mussels filled side down in the flour to lightly dust, follow by the eggs, then the crumbs. Heat oil at least 3cm deep in a frying pan, fry the mussels filled side down for 3-5 until they are well browned, turn over and cook for a further 2 minutes and drain on paper toweling. Serve or keep warm for up to 20 minutes in an oven set at 100° C for up to 30 minutes.
To Serve: Place 4 mussels onto each plate as a starter with a couple of slices of plum or vine ripened tomato.In the U.K. New Zealand mussels are sold pre frozen in their half shells, from the supermarket, fishmonger in a large box frozen at East Asian grocers.