PESTO MUSSELS AU GRATIN

PESTO MUSSELS AU GRATIN

 

24 large mussels, bearded and scrubbed

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup pesto (recipe below)

4 Tbs. butter

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

¼ cup parmesan cheese

1 lemon, cut into wedges

basil leaves for garnish

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

Place the mussels in a large deep skillet in a single layer.  Cover and bring to a boil and cook JUST until the mussels open.  Remove from heat and discard the top shell of each mussel leaving the meat in the bottom shell.  Arrange on a foil lined baking sheet.

 

Top each mussel with a dollop of the pesto (enough to cover the meat and the bottom of the shell.

 

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan and sauté the garlic until fragrant.  Add the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently until lightly browned.  Top each of the mussels with the crumbs.

 

Bake for 10-12 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Squeeze the lemon over the tops of the mussels, garnish with basil and CHOW DOWN!!

 

PESTO:

2 cups basil leaves, packed

2 cloves garlic, rough chopped

½ cup good parmesan cheese, grated

1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

¾-1 cup olive oil

 

Combine the basil, garlic, parmesan, nuts, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse multiple times until the basil is broken down and the ingredients are combined.  Put the food processor on low speed and drizzle the olive in through the tube until a loose paste forms.  

 

This is a very classic recipe, but there many ways to vary the flavor in this herbaceous sauce.  Try substituting or combining other herbs like parsley or mint to the basil or use spinach or arugula.  Add sundried tomatoes for a sweeter zing or even dried cranberries.  You can even kick up the heat with a little jalapeno! Switch up the nuts with walnuts or pistachios!  The options are endless!

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