Tag Archives: Hors D’oeuvres

Stuffed Mussels with Serrano Ham, Spinach, & Garlic Aioli



It usually takes me a week or so after Thanksgiving passes (an intermission), before I am ready to start hearing Christmas music on the radio, and get into the spirit of the season. I need the time to transition from pumpkins to holly.

I can’t just jump right in. What I can do though, is start thinking about what I want to cook during the holiday season. Menu planning is something that comes naturally for me, and it’s the getting together with family and friends over food and wine part of the season that really gets me excited about celebrating, so today I will share a recipe that I recently served as part of one of my cooking class menus. The ingredients have some Spanish influence, making them a nice addition to a tapas menu, but they also have that special holiday feel to them so sharing some of these with friends would be a very good idea.

The mussels are steamed in a wine broth,  then pulled from their shells, chopped and added to the rest of the filling ingredients: sauteed serrano ham, spinach, and béchamel sauce. Some prep work on the front end, yes. But you are able to assemble the stuffed mussels and refrigerate up to one day ahead before they are topped with garlic aioli and popped under the broiler until golden brown and bubbly.

Even the people in cooking class who thought they didn’t like mussels fell in love with these.

So as you think about inviting friends over to share a glass of wine during the weeks ahead,  I hope you will consider making these go along with your holiday cheer.

Stuffed Mussels with Serrano Ham, Spinach, & Garlic Aioli
Serves: 6
  • Aioli:
  • 10 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Mussels:
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 6 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 36 mussels (3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced ham (serrano, prosciutto, or black forest)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  1. For Aioli: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a very small baking dish. Cover garlic with oil (add enough to completely cover garlic), cover dish with foil, and bake until garlic is soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove garlic cloves with a slotted spoon and transfer to a dish to cool. Place cooled garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar in the base of a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Reserve.
  2. For mussels: Bring the white wine, half of the onion, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and mussels to a boil in a large covered saucepan over high heat. Once mussels have been cooking 3 minutes, check to see if they have begun to open. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon as they open and transfer to a platter. Cool the mussels. Reduce the cooking liquid down to 2 tablespoons. Strain and reserve the liquid. Remove the mussels from their shells and save ⅔ of their shells. Separate each of the reserved shells into 2 halves. Chop the mussels coarsely and place in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Cook the remaining onion until soft, 7 minutes. Add the spinach and ham to pan with onions, stirring until spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove mixture from pan and add to bowl with chopped mussels.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and cook; stirring 2 minutes. Add the milk and reserved cooking liquid and cook until smooth and very thick. Add to the mussels and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff the shells with the mussel mixture. Spread the aioli on top of the mussels and place on a baking sheet. Broil until golden, 10-20 seconds. Serve immediately.
  6. servings


Twelve Days of Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres (Third Day)


Remember in the last post I said the Thai Spiced Shrimp were the Hors d’oeuvres to fly off the platter? Well, I think I forgot about  these Crab Wontons. I don’t eat fried food very often, so when I do it is an indulgence. The holidays are a perfect time to enjoy a little treat, and that is exactly what they are.

If you are a good planner, you will make these well ahead of time. They will keep in the freezer for up to one month. They are not hard to fold…just a bit tedious. If you have someone you like to cook with in the kitchen, enlist their help…it will make wrapping that much faster, and you will enjoy a nice conversation while working. My daughters love to help me wrap wontons (at least I think they do)…

Here are the folds, step by step:






Here’s a better look, after they have fried to a crisp golden brown, and are served with a plum dipping sauce.


Crab Wontons with Plum Dipping Sauce

6 ounces lump crab meat

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

¼ red pepper, finely minced

4 water chestnuts, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 green onion, minced

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 16-ounce package of wonton skins

Vegetable oil for frying

Drain crab, squeezing out as much moisture as possible. Put in a mixing bowl and combine with the cream cheese, red pepper, water chestnuts, garlic, green onion, and black pepper.

Put 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each wonton wrapper. Dip your fingers in a bit of water and moisten all but the top edge of the wrapper. Fold the bottom edge of the wonton wrapper up to the top edge and seal together using your fingers to pinch. Next, fold each edge of wrapper in to the center and pinch at the top. The finished wonton should resemble the folds of an envelope. Place wontons on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. (Once frozen, can be transferred to zip-lock freezer bags and stored in freezer for 1 month prior to cooking).

Heat oil to 375 degrees in a heavy skillet, wok or deep fryer. Fry wontons in batches until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Note: Wontons can be fried ahead of time and reheated in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Plum Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup plum sauce (or Hoisin sauce)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 green onion, minced

¼ cup cilantro, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve with wontons.

Makes 50 wontons

And from Tokyo Terrace, look at this beautiful cocktail…

The Spicy Lemon-1The Spicy Lemon

Click here to vist Tokyo Terrace for the recipe