Mussels with Golden Breadcrumbs

1 lb. fresh mussels, de-bearded and cleaned
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 ripe plum tomato, diced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup diced shallots
1/2 cup dry white wine
freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley
Juice of ½ lemon

For Golden Breadcrumbs:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 whole clove of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup parmesan cheese


1. Scrub, de-beard and clean the mussels. Place in the fridge or on top of bowl filled with ice until they are ready to be steamed. If any of the mussels do not close while you are cleaning them, throw them away.

2. In a small non-stick pan, add the olive oil and clove of garlic on medium-low heat. Allow the garlic to perfume the oil about 2 minutes. Remove the garlic. Add the breadcrumbs to the oil, stirring constantly to toast them for a couple of minutes until just golden. Take off the heat, stir in the lemon zest, and parmesan cheese and reserve.

3. Place a large skillet on the stove and heat on medium heat and add the olive oil. Next, add the shallots, garlic, tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes and sauté for 5 minutes until softened.

4. Add the mussels and the wine and stir, cover and turn the heat to high. The mussels should all open in about 6-8 minutes. After 6 minutes or so, check the pan to see if most of the mussels have opened.  Stir once and cover for another minute or so. Discard any unopened mussels.

5. Right in the pan, when the mussels are fully cooked, sprinkle the toasted breadcrumb mixture on top, with some fresh parsley, fresh ground pepper, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

This was one of my father's favorite recipes.  He would dip his Italian bread in the sauce after eating the mussels. I think that sauce is delicous enough to have with a side of thin spaghetti too!

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