Each shell holds a single plump mussel surrounded by a rich cream sauce, tiny ribbons of baby spinach, and slivers of salty prosciutto. The sauce is a creamy reduction of mussel broth, garlic, and onion with a touch of fennel, with flavours inspired by the classic Oyster Rockefeller. This is a fantastic dish for entertaining, the perfect one-bite canapé served on nature’s spoon, the mussel shell itself.
Servings: Hors d’oeuvres for 6-8, approx. 24 mussels
Total Time: 30-35 minutes
- 1 lb Canadian farmed Blue mussels- rinsed
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 2 green onions finely chopped
- 1 thin slice prosciutto finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed
- 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach- chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
- Optional garnish- a few sprigs of fresh thyme, parsley, or fennel fronds.
- Start by sorting the mussels; throw out any with broken shells, and test the mussels with open shells to ensure they are still alive by tapping two together, if they close they are fine, if they remain open, discard them.
- In a large covered pot, steam the mussels in the white wine over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, just until the mussels open. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid in the bottom of the mussel pot to a boil. Reduce the liquid by about half, or until only a 1/4 cup remains. While the broth reduces, remove the mussels from their shells and reserve half of the shells for stuffing.
- To make the sauce, heat the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat until bubbling. Add the garlic, green onion, prosciutto, and fennel seed to the butter and cook for 2-3 minutes, until garlic is fragrant until very light golden. Strain the mussel broth to remove any solids, and add it to the pan.
- Increase the heat to medium high, and further reduce the broth by half, until it is like thick syrup. Stir in the cream and cook until it begins to gently boil. Add the chopped spinach, and cook, stirring constantly until the spinach is wilted. Add 1 tablespoon bread crumbs to the sauce and continue to cook for another minute or two until the cream is thickened a bit.
- Arrange the reserved mussel shells on a shallow baking sheet and fill each of them with a spoonful of stuffing. Then, top with a mussel and a sprinkling of bread crumbs. If you are making these ahead, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day before baking. When you are ready to serve, bake the mussels in a preheated 400F oven for 6-8 minutes until tops are lightly browned and edges are bubbling. Reduce the baking time to 4-5 minutes if you bake the mussels right away, while the sauce is still warm.
- Serve immediately garnished with a few sprigs of fresh herbs.