Gratin of Greenshell Mussels

10:00 pm on 6 March 2004

(Serves 4)

Ingredients - Mussels

  • 24 greenshell mussels
  • 250 ml wheat beer
  • 1 bunch silverbeet
  • 2 spring onions
  • 75 gms raw bacon
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 250 ml cream

Ingredients - Salad

  • 2 tomatoes
  • ¼ bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 ml balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 50 gms grated parmesan cheese
  • 100 gms grated gruyere cheese


Beard and scrub the mussels, then put in a large hot pot with the beer. Cover with a lid and steam over a high heat until they open. Drain off the stock, cool the mussels and remove the half shells.

Separate the silverbeet greens from the white stems and blanch a third of the beet greens in the remaining cooking liquor.

Thinly slice the spring onion greens (discarding the white) on an angle, soak in water for 10 minutes, then drain and reserve for garnish. Finely dice the bacon and reserve. Cut the beet stems into small diamonds. Cut the remaining silverbeet greens into very fine strips (chiffonade) and reserve for the salad.

Reduce half the stock to a glaze (that is, until minimum liquid without colouring).

Cut the onion into small diamonds and finely chop the garlic. Gently heat the garlic and onion in a saucepan, sautéing until the onion is transparent. Add the beet stems, cream and glaze and stir. Simmer until the stems are tender, remove from the heat, then cover.

To prepare the salad, cut each tomato into four, seed and chop in large dice. Purée the parsley and garlic in a food processor, then quickly add the oil. Add half the oil mixture to the vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Mix half of the parmesan cheese with the beet chiffonade and half of the tomato. Dress with the balsamic dressing.

Finishing : Lay six mussels (in half shells) face up in four shallow pans, spoon over the cream sauce and top with bacon, blanched greens and gruyere cheese. Bake in a hot oven at 220°C for 5-10 minutes. Slide the baked mussels into four bowl plates, top with salad in the centre and sprinkle around the remaining tomato and green oil. Top with the remaining parmesan cheese and the spring onions.