In the southeast of France, yacht-strewn shores, cliffside towns and sleepy fishing villages simmer underneath the Mediterranean sun. In the so-called Côte d’Azur, locals and travelers from all over the world enjoy their glasses of cold white wine over simple yet magnificent dishes typical to the region.
The French Riviera is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but if you can’t get to France, it’s easy to bring a taste of summer on the Riviera to your own home! This gratin mussels’ couscous recipe will teleport you and your friends to the most picturesque marinas and fishing ports of Europe.
Recipe by Simona Novarini
Preparation: 15 minutes
Baking / cooking: 10 minutes
- 1 garlic clove
- 100 ml of white wine
- 500 grams of mussels
- 90 ml of mussels baking liquid (kept aside)
- 80 grams of Martino’s integral whole couscous
- 1 fresh parsley tuft
- 4 cherry tomatoes
- breadcrumbs as needed
- extra virgin olive oil as needed
Clean the mussels:
Place the mussels in a colander in the sink and run water over them, using your hands or a clean scrubbing brush to rub off any debris like seaweed, sand, barnacles, or mud spots that could be on the shell. If you find any mussels with open shells, lightly tap that mussel against the side of the sink. If the mussel closes up again in response to this turmoil, it’s alive. If it doesn’t move, discard it.
The “beard” of a mussel is the clump of hair-like fibers that sprout from the shell. Often farm-raised mussels will come de-bearded, but even so, you’ll want to check that there aren’t some pesky ones hanging on. To remove the beard from the mussels, grab it with your thumb and forefinger and tug it toward the hinge of the mussel shell. You can also use a knife to gently scrape away the beard.
Once your mussels are cleaned and de-bearded, they’re ready to cook and eat.
Cook the mussels:
Pour a little extra virgin olive oil into a non-stick frying pan, then add one garlic clove, 100 ml of white wine and toss inside the mussels. Make sure to cover with a lid, light the fire and let the mussels cook slowly until all the shells are open. Discard the ones that do not open. When the mussels are ready, remove them from the pan and place them on a plate and then set aside cooking juice.
Hydrate the couscous:
Use a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, pour the mussels juice and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, pour 80 grams of whole integral Martino couscous making sure you are spreading it evenly. Cover with a lid and set aside for about 4-5 minutes.
Once the couscous is fully hydrated and has absorbed all the water, drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top and fluff it with the help of a fork. This will remove any lumps and separate the delicate grains without crushing them to give the couscous a light, fluffy texture.
Prepare the couscous Mixture:
In a mixing bowl add the hydrated couscous. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces and coarsely chop the parsley then add them to the couscous and mix well.
Prepare for baking:
Take the mussels and separate the empty shell from the one with the mussel valve. You can discard the empty shells. At this point use a small spoon to fill the shells with the mussel valves with the couscous mixture. Press gently the surface with the spoon to even out. Do the same for all the mussels. When filled place all of them in a porcelain baking tray and sprinkle on top with breadcrumbs and extra virgin olive oil
Place the baking tray in a preheated oven at 200°C with grill function for about 10 minutes. Your mussels au gratin with couscous and cherry tomatoes are ready to serve!
On the next gathering bring a touch of French elegance to your table with this mussels and couscous recipe. Delight yourself and your guests with your delicious creations and don’t forget to subscribe to receive more amazing recipes from all around the world directly in your inbox.
Finally, as all gourmet dishes require, enjoy the amazing gratin mussels with couscous and tomatoes with a cold glass of your favorite white wine and leave us a comment to tell us about this French-inspired culinary experience.