Pancetta-Wrapped Mussels with Basil
- TOTAL TIME: 35 MIN
- SERVINGS: 10
Crispy, briny and juicy, these ingenious mussels are a simple and unexpected fall dish; they're just as delicious roasted or grilled. Threading the shelled mussels onto skewers makes them easier to handle.
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 40 large mussels (2 pounds), scrubbed
- 1/4 pound very thinly sliced pancetta
- 40 small basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 500° or light a grill. In a large pot, bring the wine to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook over high heat until they open, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a bowl; discard any that do not open. Strain the cooking liquid into a small bowl.
- Remove the mussels from their shells. Unroll the pancetta slices and cut them into forty 3-inch-long strips. Arrange the strips on a work surface. Place a basil leaf at the base of each strip, top with a mussel and roll up. Thread the mussels onto skewers.
- Brush the skewers with some of the mussel cooking liquid. Roast the mussels in a cast-iron skillet in the upper third of the oven, or grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and crisp, about 2 minutes. Brush the cooked mussels with the cooking liquid a second time and serve right away.
At the clay oven party in Napa, guests enjoyed these smoky mussels with glasses of crisp Chardonnay.