Mussels Baked with Asian Pesto

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    6

    as an appetizer

Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

This is a fun little appetizer or hors d’oeuvre. It can be assembled as much as a day ahead, refrigerated, and then baked at the last minute. Be sure to serve with little cocktail forks or spoons so that you can get every bit of the pesto out of the shell. (Actually, the best tool for this job is your tongue.) And of course, feel free to substitute any pesto you like for the Asian Pesto. The bonus in this recipe is that you also get the mussel stock, which is a delicious base for seafood soups and sauces. Strain it through a fine sieve and freeze for use later on.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds fresh mussels
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Asian Pesto

Method

Wash the Mussels thoroughly and pull off the “beards” (the little bit of seaweed that might be clamped in the shell). Transfer the mussels to a large saucepan or pot and add the wine, butter, and parsley. Cover tightly and cook over high heat, stirring a couple times, until the mussels open, about 4 minutes. Drain the mussels, reserving the broth for another use, and discard any mussels that don’t open.

When they are cool enough to handle, remove the top shell from each mussel. Loosen the meat with your fingers or a fork (to make it easier to eat) and arrange the mussels in their half shells on a baking sheet lined with a loosely crumpled sheet of foil or on a bed of coarse salt. (This will help keep the mussels upright.) Lift each mussel and place a teaspoon or two of the pesto in the shell and lightly press the meat back in place. If not baking immediately, cover the entire sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

At serving time, preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the mussels (plastic wrap removed of course!) just until the pesto begins to bubble and the mussels are heated through, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve immediately.