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Gratin of Mussels with Melted Camembert

I first sampled this concept in Normandy where the Camembert was used as a topping for oysters. Then back home, I discovered it goes superbly well with mussels too.

 
 

Method

First you need to deal with the mussels: heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the shallot and garlic and cook these over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until they're just soft. Now turn the heat up high, tip in the prepared mussels and add the wine and some salt and pepper. Put on a close-fitting lid, turn the heat down to medium and cook the mussels for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice, or until they have all opened. Discard any that remain closed.

When the mussels are cooked pull away the top shells and discard them. Arrange the mussels sitting on their half shells on a baking tray. Then put 1/2 teaspoon of strained mussel juice into each shell. Now place a cube of Camembert on top of each mussel. Then, in a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic and a seasoning of salt and pepper and sprinkle this mixture on top.

When you are ready to finish the mussels, pre-heat the grill to its highest setting for at least 10 minutes, then place the tray of mussels fairly close to the heat source and don't go away. You need to watch them like a hawk. It will only take about 3-4 minutes for the cheese to melt and turn golden brown and bubbling. Serve straight away with lots of crusty bread.

 

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