Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno)

Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes

Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno)

This recipe is ideal as a starter, especially when the first and second course are made with fish. However, you can also have it alone as a light lunch, accompanied by a good glass of white wine and that's it!Italy has a great tradition regarding the cooking of mussels and most of the recipes come from the South of the country, especially from the Puglia region of Italy where, apparently, one of the best quality of mussels is grown. Anyway, the key factor for this recipe is to keep it simple; use very simple ingredients and do not be tempted to add other herbs because you risk overwhelming the sea flavour typical of the mussels.
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 650 kcal

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Ingredients
 

  • 1.5 kilograms (slightly more than 3 lb) Fresh mussels Clean the mussels before you start cooking. If you do not know how to do it, check “fish preparation”, featured in the top tips section of the website.
  • 125 grams (4 1/2 oz) Breadcrumbs For the breadcrumbs I usually leave a couple of French baguettes in my larder for two or three weeks. Once the baguettes are hard like a stick, they can be grated using a normal cheese grater. During the recipe preparation I further process the breadcrumbs with a processor to make the crumbs similar to flour.
  • 60 grams (2 1/2 oz) Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • A small bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 60 ml Extra virgin olive oil (this is for the initial sautĂ©)
  • 75 ml (3 fl oz) Extra virgin olive oil (this is for the breadcrumb mix)
  • A pinch of salt (1/4 tsp)
  • Ground black pepper (1/2 tsp)
  • 100 ml (4 fl oz) White wine

Note 2: it would be handy having an atomiser filled with 3 parts olive oil and one part white wine to be used during the cooking stage.

    Instructions

    • Take 1 garlic clove and some parsley leaves, then chop them all together.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Put the breadcrumbs into the processor bucket and add the Parmesan cheese.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Add salt and black pepper.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Add the chopped garlic and parsley. Now, process the bucket contents until everything is evenly mixed and reduced to a fine crumb.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Pour the bucket contents into a bowl.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Now, take the 75 ml (5 tablespoons) olive oil you previously set aside and gradually add it to the dry mixture. Start with half of the olive oil and mix with a spoon so that the oil is evenly distributed.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • I said 75 ml (5 tablespoons), but play it by ear because sometimes you may need some extra drops. What we need to achieve here is a mix that it is not too oily and loose, but it should still break easily (friable).
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • This photograph should give you a better idea of the mix consistency.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Now, add the 60 ml (4 tablespoons) of olive oil you previously set aside into a large pan. The pan should be big enough to contain all your mussels. Cut the remaining garlic clove into thin slices and sautĂ© for 3-4 minutes over low heat.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Next, turn the heat to medium and add all the mussels. Leave to cook for 1 minute.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Then, add the white wine and…
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • …cover with the lid. Cook the mussels until they open.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Generally it takes 5-7 minutes to open them all. Half way cooking I gently overturn the mussels with a spatula, bringing the mussels in the bottom of the pan to the top. I do this only once and with lots of care because I do not want the mussels contents to get out of the shell.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • There you go, after 5-7 minutes you should have this. Now, this is important, discard any mussels that have not opened.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • About the opened mussels, remove and discard the upper shell and leave each mussel attached to the bottom shell. Sprinkle the moist breadcrumb mix onto each mussels, also filling the empty space around them, but do not press with the fingers, just let the breadcrumb mix to drop.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Lay all the half shells onto a baking tray.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • With 1.5 kg (3 pounds 5 ounces) of mussels I have managed to prepare 3 trays. Now, pre-heat the oven to 220ÂșC (425ÂșF).
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • When the oven is ready, put the tray in to cook for a couple of minutes.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • After 2 minutes, spray with the atomiser and then continue for about 8 minutes or until the top of the mussels are golden brown and a lovely smell of fish is all around your kitchen.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Job done!
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    • Be sure you have a glass of chilled white wine near you.
      Gratin of mussels (Cozze al forno) | Seafood recipes
    Enjoyed the recipe?Buy us a glass of wine!
    Federico
    Jeremy

    Buon appetito! Thank you from Federico (recipe Maestro) and Jeremy (web Geek).

    Nutrition

    Calories: 650kcal
    Keyword Seafood
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    Published
    Categorised as Seafood

    By Federico

    Federico Pezzaioli is an ex-badass Italian Paratrooper on a mission - to make creating delicious authentic Italian food really easy. He researches, writes and photographs each recipe with the same attention to detail he used to apply to packing his parachute.

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