Breaded Mussels
Lars Leicht, Central Market

(Central Market, appetizer, mussels, cornmeal, wine, tarragon)

Breaded Mussels
Breaded Mussels

Yield: 4 servings


1/3 C Kosher salt
1 lb fresh mussels, cleaned and brearded
1 Tbsp finely ground cornmeal
3 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
½ C white wine
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
1 sprig plus 1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
2 C fresh breadcrumbs, finely chopped
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Stir the Kosher salt into ½ C of very hot tap water to dissolve, and add it to a large bowl of cold water (6-8 cups).
  2. Add the mussels, and sprinkle with the finely ground cornmeal. Soak for an hour. Remove the "beard" from each mussel, rinse and drain well.
  3. Place the drained mussels, the white wine, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, the sprig of tarragon, salt and pepper in a medium-sized, covered stock pot over medium-high heat. Shake the mussels frequently to ensure even distribution of heat, until mussels begin to open.
  4. Using tongs, remove the mussels as they open, placing them in a strainer over a bowl to capture their juices.
  5. When cool enough to handle, remove half of each shell, and detach mussel from its muscle, arranging the filled shells on a baking sheet.
  6. Mix 2-3 Tbsp of mussel liquor and the chopped tarragon into the breadcrumbs to moisten them, then heap the breadcrumbs on top of each mussel. Drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Scrape out a little hollow in each round, being careful not to pierce it through. Give the rounds a brush of oil, and sprinkle with a bit of coarse sea salt.
  8. When ready to serve, preheat the broiler, place the tray on the top shelf of oven and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the crumbs bet a light toasting.
  9. Serve immediately.