28 Dec2005

Baked Mussels

by Marketman

Whenever I have a festive dinner (not necessarily just for Christmas) that muss1features a major hunk of four legged animal (beef, lamb or pork) or substantial fowl (turkey, duck, goose, capon), I like to start with a seafood appetizer to balance the meal out. Usual suspects are large prawns, crab claws, rock lobsters, smoked salmon or tanguigue. A little more involved are a raw tuna seviche, a crab salad with mayonnaise and dill or fried crab cakes tinapa spread or Italian style seafood salad. I rarely serve shellfish in this country because I am rarely certain where it comes from. Shellfish such as clams, mussels, etc. generally sit in the sand or muck in one area and feed off of all the nutrients in the waters surrounding them. If the waters are slightly dirty, I am of the notion that the shellfish is likewise dirty. I may have high “cooty- factoritis” but that’s me…I only serve shellfish when I am certain it comes from cleaner waters… tell me it’s from somewhere in Manila Bay, read “ay, sa Cavite pa po yan” or “malinis yan, malayo-layo galing sa Boulevard kinuha” and you will see me running as far away from the vendor as possible with arms flailing in the air…

That was a long introduction to some wickedly delicious baked mussels. As a general rule, I also do not buy shellfish unless it is seriously alive. muss2But recently I have relaxed those standards and have tried clams flash frozen from Negros in the South and last weekend, some green-lipped mussels flash frozen in New Zealand and imported into the Philippines. At PHP160 a ½ kilo, they were pricey but really very good. I got about 19 pieces of mussels on the half shell per ½ kilo so they came in at about PHP9 each, much more than mussels of less “chi-chi” provenance. Just defrost until soft but still cool to the touch. Turn your oven on high, say 375-400 degrees F. Put a generous blob of butter on each mussel. Sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper. Sprinkle generously with a mixture of breadcrumbs and grated cheese. I used some pecorino romano and parmeggiano reggiano because I happened to have dry leftovers. Add some chopped parsley if you have it, I didn’t. You can also sprinkle some olive oil on top if you want. Put into hot oven until breadcrumbs as just slightly golden brown. Serve hot with some lemon wedges. A really nice start to any meal…fancy or not. Great with beer by the way! If you happen to live in the provinces with reliable mussel sources, you are in nirvana…lucky folks indeed!



  1. wysgal says:

    Mussels with Fries (Moules Frites for would-be linguists out there) can’t be beat! With a chilled glass of dry white wine … hmmm I’m getting lazy weekend snacking ideas already.

    Dec 28, 2005 | 1:28 pm


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  3. schatzli says:

    I woke up today asking nothing but SEAFOOD. too cold and too wet to go to wet market today but I am feeling mussels after this post…

    On boxing day ( which is not celebrated in Greece as Boxing Day) but just another holiday, MM I had to drag everyone to the coast. To be exact the Cape of Sounion and had lunch just below the Temple of Poseidon. Shrimp, baby calamares, smoked mackarel, bream, white wine from the barrel.

    Surely we will have more exciting posts for 2006!
    Will update you how it turns out!

    Dec 28, 2005 | 5:57 pm

  4. sha says:

    the other half just read yr post and asked if mussel farming is common in the Phils.
    between cannes and antibes in south of france you can see mussels farm everywhere…

    Dec 28, 2005 | 9:28 pm

  5. Anna says:

    This is definitely a great appetizer. My guests love it. My version of it is melt the butter and brush on the mussell, put a dab of mayonnaise on top and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese. I’ll try your version with the breadcrumbs and I’m sure olive oil on it will taste great.

    Dec 29, 2005 | 4:55 am

  6. Marketman says:

    Sha, mussel farming not common but recently they have been raising large new zealand style mussels in the pristine waters off of Palawan…but by the time it gets transported to manila, they are dead… I think they are otherwise flash frozen for export… Anna, the breadcrumbs extend the cheesy, crusty coating over the mussel itself… wysgal, there is also a recipe for mussels steamed with white wine and other goodies…yum, that’s really good with french fries!

    Dec 29, 2005 | 9:28 pm

  7. julius says:

    yummm… you should also try brushing the mussels with coconut creme and garnished with garlic and cheese. A friend brought a batch once and I was totally blown away.

    Also, you know any recipes how to cook diwal (angelwing clams)? In Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, they have many small-scale mussel farming but it’s the oyster farming that’s making this town famous! Less than P100 for a kalat-full of fresh oysters!

    Dec 31, 2005 | 12:29 am

  8. gastronoma says:

    As for me, i also do the breadcrumbs-cheese mixture thing. But instead of butter, i mash tons of garlic in olive oil(sometimes extra virgin), add a little salt, top the mussels with that, then top with the breadcrumbs-cheese mixture then bake. Yummy on clams too. :)

    Jan 4, 2006 | 11:36 pm

  9. Seafood Concepts says:

    Seafood Concepts is a trade partnership set out to maximize the business potential of local seafood producers. You may want to check out our quality Tahong Products available in leading supermarkets in Metro Manila (PriceSmart, Robinson’s, Shopwise). These are clean, fresh – frozen Mussels from Region 8 certified safe by the Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources (BFAR). Available products include among others, Tahong Meat, Tahong Half Shell, Nylon Shell & Chinese Scallop Meat.

    email us at seafoodconcepts@yahoo.com.

    Jan 6, 2006 | 12:15 am

  10. lio says:

    this recipe looks great, but do try using artichoke jalapeno dip if you can find it and be extra bold bt topping your mussels with crispy garlic chips and i assure you you would be in nirvana for sure

    Jan 7, 2006 | 9:17 am

  11. Bluey says:

    Alternative: Try boiling your mussels in sprite (Yes, SPRITE) then pour some garlic sauteed in melted butter over it. Top with quick melting cheese and you could also add in diced bell peppers (to make it really aromatic), pop it into the oven until your cheese melts and voila, a local favorite.

    Aug 23, 2006 | 12:40 am


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