- 2 pounds small-to-medium mussels, scrubbed, with beards removed
- Dry white wine (optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino or Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425°. Discard any mussels that are gaping, keeping only those that are firmly closed.
- Place the mussels in a deep skillet with 3 tablespoons of water and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently. As the mussels open, transfer them to a large platter with a slotted spoon.
- When all the mussels are cooked, strain the liquid in the pan through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. (You should have 1/4 cup of liquid; if not, make up the balance with a little dry white wine.)
- Remove the mussels from their shells, reserving 1 half shell for each mussel; set the shells on a baking sheet and fill each with a mussel.
- In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, grated cheese and oregano.
- Evenly sprinkle the crumbs over the mussels, then drizzle with the olive oil and the strained mussel liquid.
- Bake the mussels in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the tops are brown and crisp.
- Serve hot or at room temperature. (Do not reheat or the mussels will toughen.)