This recipe is popular in many parts of Italy, and is very easy to prepare. It can also be served as a main course: simply increase the quantity of mussels. Because you are cooking with olive oil, the mussels can be eaten hot or cold.
- 500g (1 lb 2 oz) fresh mussels (about 12 per person)
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp dry breadcrumbs, or 25g (1 oz) fresh oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Try and choose the biggest and freshest mussels, making sure that they are tightly closed and quite heavy.
- Clean the mussels in a sink under running tap water. Throw away any that gape, and do not close when you tap them sharply, or any that float. Place the mussels in a lidded saucepan with about 150ml (5 fl oz) water, cover and bring to the boil. Shake the pan: the steam will open the mussels in a few minutes. (At this point throw away any that have not opened). Put aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F/Gas 7.
- Next, take off the top half of each shell. Loosen the mussels and arrange the lower shells next to one another in a baking dish. Sprinkle them with the garlic and parsley mixed together, then with the breadcrumbs, and season with salt and pepper. Finally pour a thin trickle of olive oil over each mussel. Then place the dish in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
- Serve hot or cold.