Thursday, August 12, 2010

Those Are Scrumptious Green Lips, My Friend!

Do a Google search on the New Zealand green-lipped mussel (also known as greenshell mussels) and you will read many articles about its health benefits. Its use in medical circles is normally associated with its pain relieving and inflammation reduction properties. Health benefits aside, the green-lipped mussel is also quite scrumptious!

An important export for New Zealand, the green-lipped mussel can be bought here is the U.S. either frozen in the half-shell (most common) or fresh (rare). It is easily distinguishable from the domestic mussels by its distinctive emerald green markings on the lip of the shell.

Well, I'm here to tell you about a very simple baked green-lipped mussel recipe that'll blow your socks off. It takes less than 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish and is a great party appetizer idea as well as an ideal movie night snack. OK, here's what you need:

1 lb. New Zealand green-lipped mussels (frozen)
1 large shallot (small dice)
3 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
1/2 cup dry white wine (eg. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay)
1 bunch tarragon leaves (chopped fine)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Parmesan cheese
Panko breadcrumbs
Parsley for garnish
Salt & pepper to taste

First, thaw out the frozen mussels an hour before cooking. Lay them on out a sheet tray and let them thaw naturally at room temperature. While the mussels are thawing, melt the butter in a pan and saute the shallots until soft. Add the garlic and cook for about another minute. Next, add the tarragon and white wine into the pan and cook until it comes to a boil. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper. And that's all the cooking you need to do. Now, scoop a teaspoon of the ingredients that you just cooked onto the thawed out mussels (half-shell). The shells act as a natural cup to hold the ingredients. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese onto the mussels, together with some panko breadcrumbs (just enough to cover the plump mussels). Set your oven to 350F and bake for about 5-7 minutes. As you see the cheese melted, turn your oven to broil mode to brown the crumbs for less than 1 minute. Observe the baking mussels closely as you do not want the breadcrumbs to burn.

And you are done! Easy-peasy, isn't it?

Now just pop in your favorite movie and enjoy a scrumptious movie snack like you've never had before!

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