I first visited Trieste when I was 9 years old and was completely taken with this “kid friendly” way to eat mussels. It’s a family recipe handed down from generation to generation and is simply and lovingly referred to as Pockar’s Mussel’s au Gratin. Use fresh mussels and stock to really enhance the taste of the sea in your mouth. Serve with a salad.
Pockar's Mussels-au-Gratin with Mixed Garden and Caprese Salad
Ingredients 1kg Black Mussels
Small bunch of parsley
2 Cloves of garlic
2 Cups of Bread Crumbs
4 Teaspoons of parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
Juice of 2 lemons
Virgin Olive Oil
Key ingredients for the Gratin and of course fresh black mussels
Scrub and beard mussels one by one.
Place mussels in a heavy pan or pot with a small amount of water.
Steam mussels for approximately 15 minutes (you will know these are ready when the shells open and the mussel meat will turn from an opaque to orange colour). Discard mussels that haven’t opened. Keep this stock to later moisten the gratin mix.
While mussels are steaming prepare the gratin mixture.
Chop parsley and garlic finely and place breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic and parmesan cheese in a bowl and mix together.
Separate the mussel shells into halfs.
Prise the cooked mussels into half shells
Pour approximately 1/3 of a cup of the mussel stock into the dry gratin and mix. Pour a little at a time. The mixture should be moist but not wet and soggy.
Gratin Mix should be moist when stuffing the mussels
Scoop moist mixture onto each mussel, then drizzle a small amount of virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
This mixture will about 55 half shells.
Drizzle virgin olive oil and lemon juice over the stuffed mussels
Bake in an warmed oven (150 degrees) for approximately 25-30 minutes.
Remove when gratin starts to change to a golden colour.
Serve with salad of choice (today's salad is mixed greens and caprese salad).
While mussels are baking, prepare your salad of choice - today's it's a Caprese Salad