Mussels Stuffed with Spinach and Parmesan

Mussels Stuffed with Spinach and Parmesan


Mussels Stuffed with Spinach and Parmesan


  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 Tbs. finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (omit if fresh isn’t available)
  • 28 medium mussels (about 2 lb.), sorted and cleaned


  • 2 Tbs. butter or olive oil
  • 2 cups lightly packed, washed, stemmed, and chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

This savory appetizer will convert anyone still timid about mussels. Serve with small forks and bread to soak up the rich juices.

Combine the wine, 2 Tbs. of the shallots, the pepper, parsley sprigs, bay leaf, and thyme in a pot (with a lid) large enough to accommodate the mussels when their shells have opened. Bring to a boil, add the mussels, cover, and steam until just opened, 2 to 3 minutes. Try not to steam the mussels longer than necessary, because they’ll be cooked again later. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid through a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth and reserve.

For the stuffing

  • Heat the butter in a heavy-based pan. Add the remaining shallots and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the spinach, cover, and cook briefly until the spinach wilts. Uncover and cook until the liquid from the spinach evaporates, another 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the strained mussel liquid and cook until the mixture is almost dry, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and cook until the mixture is almost dry, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper; the mixture should be quite peppery.
  • Heat the broiler. Remove the mussels from their shells. Make a bed of rock salt or crumpled foil on a baking sheet (to steady the shells) and arrange as many half shells as you have mussel meats. Put a mussel meat on each half shell and spoon a teaspoonful of the spinach mixture over each. Top with the grated cheese and broil until golden and bubbly, 4 to 6 minutes.


  • 380 CALORIES
  • 12G CARB
  • 12G SAT FAT
  • 115MG CHOL
  • 820MG SODIUM
  • 1G FIBER

Choosing Mussels

  • At the fish counter, look for mussels that are tightly closed or slightly open (and close immediately with a tap), an indication they’re alive. If they’re wide open, they’re dead or close to it. Once you have
    them in hand, take a sniff. They should smell like the sea. Buy more than you’ll need, since you’ll have to discard any that don’t open during cooking.
  • Just before cooking, look for any mussels that have opened and tap them on the counter. If they don’t close, discard them. Check closed mussels by pressing on the two shells in opposing directions. Dead ones will fall apart. Scrub the remaining mussels under cold running water with a stiff brush to get rid of any grit. If the mussels have “beards”—black hairy fibers sticking out of their shells—pinch them and yank them off.
  • To keep mussels fresh, store in an open plastic bag (shellfish will suffocate in a sealed bag) in the
    fridge on a bed of ice in a large bowl. Refresh ice as it melts, and use within a day.


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