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Now you no longer have to go to a restaurant to enjoy these tasty treats. Enjoyed by young and old alike, these can be served as a starter or form part of a homemade seafood platter.


Garlic Mussels Gratin

Ingredients


  • 2 slices white bread
  • 45 ml melted butter
  • 125 ml freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 65 ml finely chopped parsley
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 45 ml finely chopped onion
  • 10 – 15 ml finely chopped garlic
  • 30 ml butter (extra)
  • 45 ml cake flour
  • 250 ml fat-reduced cream (from most supermarkets now)
  • 200 ml dry white wine (about)
  • salt and freshly-milled black pepper
  • 24 large mussels in half-shells, blanched



Chef's hint:


If you do not use alcohol, use prepared fish or chicken stock instead of the wine. And no, packaged grated parmesan won’t do. Rather use mature cheddar instead. Even mozzarella would be better than those sandy grains of artificial ‘cheese’!


Method


Break the bread coarsely, place in a processor and process into coarse crumbs. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the melted butter, grated cheese and parsley. Stir to combine and set aside until required.

Heat the olive oil and add the onion and sauté until golden. Add the garlic and cook a few seconds then add the extra 30 ml butter. Add the cake flour and stir until the flour is incorporated. Gradually add the cream, whisking constantly until thickened. Now add sufficient wine to make a medium-thick sauce. Season to taste and simmer a further minute before removing from heat.

Arrange the mussels on a baking sheet and spoon the sauce over. Sprinkle with the crumb mixture and grill in the oven for a minute or so – just until the sauce bubbles and the topping is golden. (The mussels are blanched so they require hardly any cooking). Remove from oven and serve.

Makes 24