Scrub the mussels under cold running water, discarding any that remain open. With a strong, short-bladed knife, prize open the shells, cutting through the muscle. Take care not to spill any of the juice, but sieve it into a basin, and mix it with the rest of the ingredients to a smooth paste. Discard the top shells and divide the mixture between the 12 shells containing the mussels. Smooth the surface of each with the back of a knife. Arrange the stuffed shells on a baking sheet. (A layer of salt or sand spread on it will enable you to balance the shells perfectly, but is not essential.) Place towards the top of a preheated oven at 220°C / 425°F / Mark 7 and bake for 3–4 minutes, until the mixture is just bubbling. If you cook them for much longer, the mussels will become tough.
Use oysters instead of mussels.
© 1995 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.