Here's a smart variation on the clams oreganata theme: this dish uses mussels, which never have the rubbery texture of baked clams.
36 medium mussels, cleaned, scrubbed, and debearded
1 bottle (750 milliliters) dry white wine
5 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons shallots, very finely minced (almost a paste)
3 teaspoons garlic, very finely minced (almost a paste)
2/3 cup fresh, not-too-fine bread crumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, very finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place the mussels in a large pot, and pour in enough white wine to come halfway up the mussels (you may have some wine left over). Cover tightly and place over high heat. When the wine starts to boil, shake the pot to redistribute the mussels, holding the lid down. Continue cooking just until the mussels open, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the cooked mussels immediately, and place them on a large roasting pan. Remove the top shell of each mussel, discard the shells, and with a sharp knife separate each mussel belly from the remaining shell. Leave the cut mussels on the half-shell and set aside.
2. Preheat broiler.
3. Prepare the stuffing: Melt the butter over moderately high heat in a heavy sauté pan. (It will foam up, but do not let it burn.) Add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until the shallots and garlic soften. (Do not let them brown.) Turn off the heat, and add the bread crumbs and parsley. Blend well. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Top each mussel in the roasting pan with a heaping teaspoon of the bread crumb mixture. Place the pan under the broiler for about 1 minute, or until the mussels start to sizzle and brown. Serve immediately, 6 to a portion, squeezing a little lemon juice on each mussel.
Here's a smart variation on the clams oreganata theme: this dish uses mussels, which never have the rubbery texture of baked clams. This recipe is modeled on a Parisian favorite, served at the Brasserie Vaudeville -- and there's a wonderful Gallic subtlety to its Flavors. You'll also Find the texture of the crumbs in this dish a revelation. Neither mushy nor oily -- as the crumbs in stuffed mollusks so often are -- these crumbs are dry, light, airy, and refined. Serves 6 as a first course