SERVES 6 TO 8
Neapolitans know what they like, and they like cozze (mussels) a lot. Tossed with pasta, eaten with bread in a mussel soup (zuppa di cozze), or served as a delicate tart, mussels are as close to a Neapolitan's heart as one can get. Inspiration for this mussel and shrimp combination, blanketed in a velvety egg and cream custard, comes from the many times I have enjoyed mussels in Naples. Prepared puff pastry makes this tart fun to prepare and elegant enough to serve as a party antipasto or main entree.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator
48 mussels, washed and debearded
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup cooked shrimp (18 to 20)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Grinding black pepper
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup finely minced red onion
1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Roll the pastry dough out to fit a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Line the bottom and sides. Cut off any excess dough.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the dough and scatter a handful of dried beans or rice over it. This will help to prevent the pastry dough from puffing up while it is baking.
Bake the tart shell for 5 to 7 minutes or just until it begins to brown. Remove from the oven. Remove the aluminum foil with the beans or rice and discard them. Cool the tart shell while you prepare the filling.
Lower the oven temperature to 375F.
Put the mussels in a sauté pan. Add the wine, cover the pan and steam the mussels until they open. Discard any mussels that do not open. Remove the mussels from their shells and set them aside. Strain and reserve the mussel liquid.
Toss the mussels and shrimp together in a small bowl with the salt, pepper and parsley. Transfer the mixture to the cooled tart shell. Place the tart shell on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips.
In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, 2 tablespoons of the reserved mussel juice, the cream, onion, and red pepper. Pour evenly over the mussel and shrimp mixture.
Bake the tart until set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut into wedges and serve.
This recipe is from Ciao Italia Pronto by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2005.
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