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Mussels à l'Escargot

Serves: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallot or yellow onion
  • ½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • ½ pounds live mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons seasoned dried bread crumbs

Procedures:

After having found myself too often maneuvering around my escargot dishes on the kitchen shelf, seldom using them, I decided to find some other uses for the simple porcelain dishes with their six snail-sized indentations. This is a garlicky-delicious alternative to the common steamed mussels. If you don’t have escargot dishes, use other small dishes such as crème brûlée dishes or ramekins. Or, for a finger-food option, return the mussels to their shells and set on a rimmed baking sheet to bake.
You’ll need 48 mussels in all; the in-shell weight will vary with the size of the mussels, but 11/2 to 13/4 pounds should do the trick. Whenever buying mussels or clams in the shell, it’s a good idea to buy a handful more than needed, in case you have to discard any with broken or gaping shells, or if any do not open when steamed.
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.


  2. To make the garlic butter, combine the butter, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the shallot in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the garlic and shallot are tender and aromatic but not browned. Set aside to cool. Stir in the parsley, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes before continuing to allow the flavors to meld.


  3. Combine the wine and remaining 2 tablespoons shallot in a large saucepan and warm over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the mussels, cover, and cook, shaking the pan gently a few times, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the mussels open. Transfer the mussels to a large bowl to cool; discard any mussels that do not open.


  4. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the garlic butter into each indentation of 8 escargot dishes, or spoon 2 tablespoons into each of 8 larger individual dishes. Remove the mussels from their shells and set a mussel in each indentation, or 6 in each larger dish. Top each mussel with about ⅛ teaspoon of the bread crumbs, or more to your taste.


  5. Arrange the dishes on a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the juices are bubbly and the top is lightly browned. Transfer the dishes to serving plates and serve.

by Sur La Table & Renée Behnke

 
 
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