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Broiled Mussels with Garlic-Herb Butter


This easy recipe comes from Melissa Clark's weekly A Good Appetite column in The New York Times. Her most recent book is “Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make”. 
As Melissa says, “In this recipe, the green-flecked butter, flavored with a little Pernod, is slathered on mussels on the half shell, then broiled until the tops are brown-edged and golden … none of the steps are hard, and every except for the broiling can be done in advance. Save any leftover mussels and butter to toss with hot pasta for dinner the next day.”
Total time: 35 minutes
Makes 8 to 12 servings

1/2 cup parsley leaves
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus
1 1/2 tablespoons Pernod or pastis
2 pounds Pacific Blue Mussels, rinsed
1/3 cup bread crumbs
  1. In a food processor, pulse together parsley, garlic, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Pulse in butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons Pernod until mixture is combined. Scrape into a bowl.
  2. In a soup pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine mussels, 1/4 cup pastis and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until mussels have opened, 5 to 10 minutes. [Note: Vital Choice mussels come par-cooked, and may not take that long. Also see our note below about opening of shells*.] Transfer mussels to a bowl until cool enough to handle; remove meat from the shells (reserving shells) and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Pry apart mussel shells and arrange half the shells on one or two large baking sheets; discard remaining shells. Place one mussel in each shell. Top each with a small spoonful of herb butter and a sprinkling of bread crumbs. Mussels may be made up to 1 day ahead up to this point; wrap baking sheets and mussels in plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, heat broiler to high and arrange a rack 4 inches from the heat. Transfer tray(s) to the oven and broil until bread crumbs are golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
*Many cookbooks advise readers to discard live mussels that either do not close when the shell is tapped, or open when they are cooked. In fact, experiments show that the shells of many healthy live mussels do not close or open when tapped or cooked (Reuello N 2004).
Our mussels are immediately par-cooked and frozen upon harvest, so there's no way for them to become spoiled … unless they thaw and sit at temperatures above 40° F before being cooked.
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