This is a heavily updated version of a recipe for broiled mussels with herb butter that I wrote about some months ago. The fact that I’d written about it before should not detract from the glory of this recipe – in fact, it should add to it. Because only truly delicious things are worth coming back to – and I always tinker. And besides, now I have a better camera and can take better photos, which make it all the more worth writing about this again.
In addition, having done some more research, I have brought the recipe closer to its original inspiration (Oysters Rockefeller), made it even easier, and actually further improved on the taste, at least in my view. Or mouth. Or both.
The recipe uses the same deep-frozen New Zealand Greenshell mussels as the previously-done one, and they perform admirably quick-defrosted via the bag-in-cool-water method. In fact, the entire prep takes very little time, as does the cooking – I think the styling and photography for this entry took more time than the actual cooking.
- 12-16 large NZ greenshell mussels on half shell (we buy ours loose from a scoop freezer at the supermarket, so I shamelessly pick the hugest ones I can see and we find 12 of those monsters are enough)
- 3 heaping tablespoons spreadable butter or regular salted butter (let latter sit out of the fridge for a few minutes so it’s not rock-hard)
- 3 tablespoons assorted frozen herbs. (You can buy those prepared in baggies and boxes, but in my case it was open the freezer and see what bags and boxes of herbs I’ve stashed there – I always freeze my excess herbs. So this was about a tablespoon of flat-leaf parsley, tablespoon of chives and green onions, and a tablespoon of herbes de provence mix scraped out of the bottom of one of those bought boxes.)
- 1 pinch of chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon garlic granules
- A pinch or so of sea salt to taste (be careful with this, if butter is salted, it may not be necessary at all)
- 1 tablespoon bread crumbs (slightly heaping is ok)
- Some assorted salad greens, a sliced orange or pear or some grapes to serve.
- Defrost your mussels.
- Set oven to preheat to 220°C and line a baking dish or roasting pan with some foil. Mussels don’t stick, this is purely to minimize the mess and subsequent cleanup.
- Add herbs, chili, salt (if using), garlic granules to a mini-chopper and blitz to smithereens. Add butter (spreadable or softened) and blitz again till mixture resembles crumbs in texture. Add breadcrumbs and blitz yet again till mixed in.
- Lay the mussels out on the sheet and using a butter knife, gently add a bit of herb butter onto the top of each. If any butter remains, spread it among the mussels (more is better here!).
- Stick onto a rack towards the top of the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes until butter melts, then swap the setting to grill+fan and allow the mounds of herbs to brown but not burn. The timing for the latter setting depends heavily on distance from broiler (top grill), and how hot your oven runs – so watch the mussels during that time.
- While your mussels are baking, prepare your plates – a little bit of dressed greens (I used a drizzle of olive oil and finishing salt on arugula), and some fruit (slices of orange or a crisp pear or some grapes).
- Take mussels out, plate on prepared plates, and serve immediately. Green tea or sparkling water with lemon will go very well alongside.