Shellfish harvests vary depending upon what region of the world you’re in. A common tale is that shellfish such as oysters, mussels and clams should only be eaten in month’s ending in the letter “R”. I’m not sure how true that is, but it’s a rule that I followed since I heard it.
With us officially in OctoberR, I think it’s safe to jump right in with a batch of mussels.
I choose a cookbook off our little bookshelf as inspiration for our recipe called Leone’s Italian Cookbook by Gene Leone. A showcase of true Italian cooking from his mother and her famous restaurant that was sold in 1959, and closed it doors in the Theater District of Manhattan, New York in 1994.
It’s a traditional take on mussels but with bread crumbs added to make the sauce thicker. I was able to scoop the sauce and spoon it onto the bread, then top it with the mussels, Parmesan cheese, scallions, and an extra sprinkle of the dried red pepper flakes.
In our recipe, there was a slight variation. The original recipe calls for 6 dozen mussels, and to use fresh parsley. I didn’t have that many of either so I just rolled with it. Instead, we used dried Italian seasoning in place of the parsley and about 2-3 dozen mussels.
I think that’s why our garlic butter sauce was thicker too. I’m sure the more mussels you cook the more liquid is added to the mixture in the bottom of the pan.
So, if you like a thinner butter sauce to dip you crusty bread into, then I would recommend adding more mussels or cutting the ingredients by half.
Baked Mussels - Cozze alla Romana
- 3 dozen fresh mussels
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 Tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning herbs
- 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- Garnish - Green Onions & more red pepper flakes
- Step 1 Place mussels under cold running water and scrub with a brush. Remove any debris. Discard any open shells.
- Step 2 Place mussels on the bottom of a shallow baking dish.
- Step 3 Pour olive oil and butter over them.
- Step 4 Sprinkle garlic, breadcrumbs, and dried seasoning over the mussels.
- Step 5 Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Step 6 Bake at 375 F degree oven for 30 minutes.
- Step 7 Garnish with chopped scallions and red pepper.
- Step 8 Serve with crusty french bread.