Stuffed Clams or Mussels

Stuffed mussels or clams, open-faced or absorbed in tomato sauce makes for great finger foods.

A favorite seafood lovers dish.  You will serve this as an appetizer or part of the main course
using the sauce over fettucine or linguine pasta.  Have more fun with this dish by preparing it with a friend, child or spouse.

2 pounds (1 kilo) Mussels or Clams (bathe in a bowl of cold water for 1-2 hours in order for sand to be expelled from inside shells.)
1/2 cup water
Stuffing. Needed supply: 4 inch (10 cm) cut string for cooking string (cotton butchers twine). Will need about 20 pre-cut strings.
2 1/2 cups cubed bread (for stuffing)
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 tsp salt

1 medium onion diced
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 28 ounces cans of unseasoned tomato sauce

Directions for expelling sand from shellfish.

Pre-soak clams or mussels for 2 hours in cold water so that they expel the sand from their shells.

Directions for making stuffed shellfish
Scrub the shells with a kitchen brush or metal scrubber (no soaps or detergent). It’s okay for some algae to still be attached to the shell.
Over medium heat, place a large pan and add 1/2 cup water with all the cleaned mussels or clams, cover pan and allow shells to open. About 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl add bread crumbs, egg, salt, garlic and parsley. Using a fork or your hands mix all ingredients together.

Turn off heat on the stove and reserve water in the pan by taking the opened mussels or clams one at a time from the pan. If some have not opened leave them in pan and cover with lid. They will continue to open.
Place one tablespoon of stuffing into each mussel or clam. With one hand close shell with seafood and stuffing inside. While with the other hand the string is wrapped two times around the closed shell and knotted, or bow-tied.

In a large pan over medium heat, add onion and oil allow to saute for 4 minutes.
Slowly pass about 3/4 of the reserved water from the musssels into a bowl.  Stop the filtering process as any debris (sand) starts to float toward the sieve.  The debris will naturally be the last to float to the top. Discard the last bit of water.  Add the 3/4 filtered, reserved mussel/clam water to the pan with the sauteed onions and mussles.
Add all of the stuffed and tied clams or mussels with tomato sauce. Add 1/2 tsp salt to taste and allow to simmer in sauce for 20 minutes. Mussels will be served in a bowl, use fingers or fork and knife to remove string. The sauce may be added to cooked linguine or fettucine pasta. Top off with chopped parsley for presentation!