Crusty Mussels on the Half Shell

You can always find mussels in the shell at your local fishmonger but for those of us that live near the coast, harvest them yourself (November through March).  Mussels cooked over a beach fire at low tide make for a great outing. But, here's a wonderful at-home recipe topped with...what else? MARGOT'S MORSELS!
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, thickly sliced
  • 10 thyme sprigs, plus 1/2 teaspoon minced thyme
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium mussels (about 60), scrubbed and debearded
  • 3 thick slices bacon, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium leek, white and tender green parts only, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2/3 cup Margot's Morsels Killer Garlic, copped to a coarse crumb
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a  saucepan large enough for all of the mussels to fit in roughly a single layer, combine the wine, shallot, lemon, thyme sprigs and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard any mussels that don't open. Pull the mussels out of their shells and discard half of each shell. Arrange the remaining half  shells on a baking sheet in 1 layer and place a mussel in each. Strain the broth into a glass measuring cup, leaving the solids behind.

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a dish and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the skillet with the bacon fat. Add the leek and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the mussel broth and cook until syrupy, 15 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the bacon and minced thyme; season with salt and pepper. Let cool. Top each mussel with a teaspoon of the leek mixture.

When ready to serve. Preheat the oven to 375°. Roughly chop the morsels and stir in the parsley. Sprinkle the mixture over the mussels and bake in the upper third of the oven for about 5 minutes, or until hot and bubbling.  Enjoy!

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