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Golden Gratinéed Shellfish

Yield 8 First-Course Servings

Ingredients

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 5 cups fresh white bread crumbs (7 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 dozen medium mussels (1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and debearded
  • 3 dozen medium littleneck clams, shucked, on the half shell, empty shells reserved
  • 3 dozen medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 500°. Melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the garlic and shallot and cook over low heat until softened, 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the mustard. Add the bread crumbs and thyme, season with salt and pepper and toss well.

  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the wine to a boil with the bay leaves. Add the mussels, cover and cook over high heat until they open, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; strain the cooking liquid into a cup and add a pinch of salt. Set the mussels on the half shell on a baking sheet; discard the empty mussel shells.

  3. Set the clams on the half shell on a baking sheet. Put a shrimp in each of the empty clam shells and arrange on a baking sheet. Spoon ð teaspoon of the mussel liquid over each mussel, clam and shrimp to moisten them. Mound 2 teaspoons of the bread crumbs on the seafood in each shell.

  4. Position 2 sheets of shellfish on a rack in the upper third of the oven and bake for 5 minutes, or until browned. Repeat with the third sheet. Serve.

  5. Variation Spread the steamed mussels and raw clams and shrimp in a large gratin dish. Sprinkle with the seasoned bread crumbs and bake at 500° until browned. Toss with cooked linguine, olive oil and some of the mussel liquid.