We prepare to depart Friuli-Venezia Giulia as we arrived, paying tribute to one the most famous and most beloved chefs from this part of Italy, Lidia Bastianich. This simple but delicious take on mussels tells us in a couple ways that we have not yet left FVG: the bay leaves and pepper flakes for seasoning, and the bread crumbs to thicken the sauce. This is a great, quick weeknight meal choice, perfect with just a bit of crusty bread to sop up all the wonderful liquid, and a light, refreshing wine — white (like Friulano), rosato, or even a light red.
Ingredients and Direction:
- A little olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed flat with a knife
- 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
- 1 pinch of dried red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 pounds mussels, rinsed and de-bearded
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- Sliced Italian bread
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and let it lightly brown, then remove from the skillet.
- Add the sliced onions, bay leaves and dried pepper flakes to the skillet and saute until the onions begin to soften but still have a little bit of bite. About 10 minutes.
- Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Then add the mussels and tightly cover the skillet with a lid.
- Cook the mussels over high-heat until the mussels open. About 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and parsley over the mussels and toss over and over with a spoon. The breadcrumbs will melt into the liquid to form a slightly thickened sauce.
- Serve in warmed bowls with slices of crusty Italian bread.