Stuffed mussels were Marsh’s signature dish, and he made them often. He dazzled me with a batch on our first serious date. He’d made them ahead, then reheated them in the galley of his sailboat. I’d never set foot on a sailboat before, much less been served fresh seafood prepared especially for me.
Over the years, Marsh and I harvested mussels from rocks up and down the New England coast. We picked up a mooring ball or dropped anchor, jumped in the dinghy with a couple of big buckets, and headed for harbor openings, where the pickings were often exceptionally good. We clamored over the slippery rocks and filled both buckets in a matter of minutes, hands numbed by the cold water, pleased with helping ourselves to the bounty.
But for the dicing, stuffed mussels are easy to throw together. “It’s really all about the butter,” Marsh claimed. And they’re always a hit, even if you scorch the tops a bit, as I am wont to do.
Marsh’s Stuffed Mussels (makes 3 dozen)
-1 lb. mussels
-1 cup dry white wine
-3 cloves garlic
-1/2 cup onion, minced
-1/4 lb. butter
-1 teaspoon fresh thyme
-2 cups Pepperidge Farm seasoned stuffing mix
1. Put the mussels and white wine in a large pot, bring to a boil, and steam until the shells open.
2. Drain the mussels, dice the meat, and set it aside, along with the shell halves.
3. In a large fry pan, saute the garlic and onion in the butter until golden. Add the thyme, stuffing mix, and diced mussels.
4. Stuff the shells. Broil until browned (just a few seconds; they burn easily).