Mussels are underrated. Cheaper than clams, but meatier and just as flavorful, they get a bad wrap. Sure, you probably shouldn’t order them in a restaurant (thanks to Kitchen Confidential, I’ll never look at a seafood special the same way again), but they couldn’t be any easier to make at home.
For this dish, it’s essential that you use fresh mussels. Don’t bother with the frozen, pre-cooked variety, otherwise you’ll get none of that good briny flavor that you want to achieve.
1/4 cup water
2 pounds mussels, rinsed
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring water with mussels to a boil in a large pot, covered, then boil, covered, shaking pot occasionally, until mussels open, about 4 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving cooking liquid, and cool to room temperature.
2. Put the half of the mussel shells with mussels attached in a large shallow baking pan (discard other halves) and drizzle with a little of the reserved cooking liquid.
3. Stir together remaining ingredients, then top each mussel with about 1 teaspoon of mixture. Bake until crumbs are golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.