SERVES 4 to 6
One of the classic dishes of the region of Puglia (Italy's heel) is tiella, a mussel and potato casserole made in an earthenware pan. This dish is built of many layers and is said to be descended from the Spanish paella. There are countless versions of the dish, but all must contain potatoes. Be attentive when buying mussels, making sure that no shells are broken.
3 pounds mussels
1/2 cup wine
1/4 cup Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 pound potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces grated Pecorino cheese
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Reserved mussel liquid
1 large egg, slightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Scrub and rinse the mussels well. Pull away the beards and discard them. Throw away any mussels that have cracked shells. Put the mussels in a sauté pan, add the wine, cover the pot and steam them until the shells begin to open. Drain and strain the liquid through cheesecloth over a colander in a bowl.
Remove the top shell of each mussel but leave the mussel in the bottom shell. Set them aside.
Spread the olive oil in an earthenware casserole dish. Arrange a layer of onions over the olive oil. Add a layer of tomatoes and a layer of potatoes. Place the mussels in their shells over the potatoes in a single layer. Salt and pepper the mussels to taste.
Combine the cheese, bread crumbs, and parsley together in a small bowl. Spread some of the mixture over the mussels. Continue making layers of onion, tomatoes, potatoes, and mussels and spread some of the cheese/bread crumb mixture over each mussel layer.
Pour the mussel liquid along the side of the pan. Pour the beaten egg over the top of the casserole.
Bake uncovered until the potatoes are browned, approximately 45 minutes. Use a spoon to scoop and serve.
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