Parmesan Marinara Baked Mussels. Make a terrific, easy first course for a celebration dinner, especially a romantic dinner for two on Valentine’s Day.

  • 2 dozen large mussels
  • 1 cup marinara Sauce
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups crusty bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • pinch coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated
  1. Wash the mussels and pull off any beards that may still be attached to the shell. A pair of needle-nose pliers works well for this. Discard any mussels with cracked or broken shells and those that do not remain closed after a minute when you pinch them together. Also discard any mussels that do not open during the cooking time.
  2. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large covered pot. Add the mussels, cover the pot and let them steam for only 3 minutes to open the shells.
  3. Remove the top shell and loosen the mussels from the half of the shells that they are attached to before laying them in a baking dish.
  4. Spoon about a teaspoonful of marinara sauce over each mussel in their shells.
  5. Over medium heat melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the the garlic. Cook for just a minute to soften it.
  6. Add the bread crumbs, chopped thyme and black pepper. Stir to combine well, then toss in the Parmesan cheese.
  7. Spoon the crumbs evenly over the marinara sauce covered mussels. Press the crumbs down gently and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

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