When I was first approached by Joana at Yummy Food, I felt flattered, excited, and then totally freaked out. I love food, I love cooking, I love making things up as I go in the kitchen. But Mediterranean is totally outside my comfort zone of typical North American comfort food, and creating a totally original, unpublished recipe with flavour profiles I am not really familiar with? EEK! But as you can see, I accepted the challenge nonetheless!
I spent a great deal of time thinking and planning this recipe. To me, “Mediterranean” is all about freshness, and there is nothing that embodies fresh more than seafood. I used panko and walnuts to offset the creaminess of the mussels, crab and parmesan, and lemon to add that lovely acid required with seafood. Baked until crispy, these are perfect served right in the half-shell, and the perfect single-bite appy. This is the type of dish I could see served on a cobblestone patio, outside some lovely little restaurant overlooking the ocean.
This recipe is part of a contest sponsored by Canarias. I’m so glad I opted to take part, it was so much fun to push myself outside of my comfort zone and cook something I normally wouldn’t.
Crab & Walnut Stuffed Mussels
2 lbs live mussels
1/2 cup water
6 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup crabmeat
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & pepper
Wash ad scrub mussels – discard any that are open and don’t close with a tap on a firm surface. In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, place closed mussels and water and bring to a boil. Steam for a few minutes, until they open up. Discard any that didn’t open and let cool to room temperature.
Carefully break off the top half of the shell, and scoop out the meat to detach it from the bottom, but leave it in the half-shell for presentation and serving purposes. Set aside.
In a small pot, melt butter over medium heat. When melted and warm, add garlic and stir to let the garlic cook for a minute or so to infuse the butter. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a bowl, combine crabmeat, panko, walnuts, parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, butter and garlic. Mix well.
Place a generous scoop of the stuffing mixture on top of each half-shell mussel, and lay out on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 until crispy and golden, 5-8 minutes should suffice. Let cool a bit and serve warm!