This was a recipe that I was looking forward to making, so I was really upset to have it this week. That’s because my two young nieces and I all were all battling a stomach bug this week. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that seafood of any type was not on my menu. Once again, my husband Michael came to my rescue and served as the taster. I ran it over to him at our restaurant at the end of the night and he shared it with a couple of our regulars. It got rave reviews all around! I will definitely need to repeat this when I can enjoy it too.
I had never worked with fresh mussels and clams before so I was a little nervous. I found some great ones at Whole Foods. Pricey, but I figured that they would be fresh. I stored them overnight in my fridge covered with a damp paper towel. It was intriguing to see them open up when I first put them into the water. I washed and scrubbed them about 4 times until they were clean. I then put them into a stock pot and turned the heat on high. It didn’t take long before they started popping open. I was wondering how I would know when they opened because the lid was supposed to be on the pot. It didn’t take long to figure out that they make a little clinking noise when they open, caused by the shells moving on the bottom of the pan. Marcella said to pull them out immediately after they open to keep the meat from getting tough. This must work because Michael just couldn’t get over how tender they were.
The next step was to remove the meat from the shells, saving one half of the shell for the next step. I then washed the clams in their juices to remove the last bit of sand. I did find one clam that smelled really bad at this point so I disposed of it. The others all opened and looked great. I then marinated the clams and mussels with breadcrumbs, olive oil, garlic and parsley. While they were marinating I washed the saved shells and placed them on a broiling pan. Next I peeled and seeded tomatoes and cut them into strips for the topping. I then transferred the clams and mussels back to their respective shells, put the extra breadcrumb mixture on the top, and then put a strip of tomato on top. Grilling for a few minutes until they bubbled was the last step. These looked amazing and smelled great too, which given my situation is saying a lot. Marcella has done it again.