Stuffed Mussels (Cozze Ripiene)
These mussels are stuffed with fresh breadcrumbs and tuna, then baked with tomatoes in their shells.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
1 pound mussels, beards removed and scrubbed
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
3 ounces (about half a can) tuna in oil, drained
¼ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-lead parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Using a dull knife, open the mussel, working over a large bowl to catch their liquid. Set aside the open mussels.
3. Add the breadcrumbs, eggs, tuna, pecorino, and parsley to the bowl with the mussel liquid. Mix well to combine. The mixture should be wet but not runny; add a bit of water if needed. Season with salt and pepper. (The ingredients are already quite savory, so you may not need any salt.)
4. Using your hands, place about a tablespoon of the breadcrumb mixture in each open mussel, gently closing the mussel around the filling but allowing some of the filling to spill over.
5. Arrange the filled mussels evenly inside a large baking dish.
6. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes and the olive oil. Season with salt and toss to coat. Distribute the tomatoes evenly around the mussels. Bake until the filling is browned and the tomatoes are softened, 30 to 35 minutes. Switch the oven to broil and broil for 10 minutes to get a light golden crust on the breadcrumb filling. Serve at room temperature.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This recipe has been reprinted with permission of the author from Food of the Italian South: Recipes for Classic, Disappearing, and Lost Dishes.