Mussels in parsley pesto

You really don’t need to be a seafood expert to perfect this super simple dish. All you need is very fresh mussels

It’s incredible how much I needed this summer. With a winter so difficult and strange as the one behind us, summer came as a true life saver. It’s time to leave everything behind, get rid of our heavy clothing and feel free and careless near the sea, enjoy the great outdoors and hear nothing but the sound of waves and leafhoppers.

To me, summer feels like a unique healer. It can magically make all the darkness inside me go away and fuels me with overflowing energy and light! It almost feels like the minute we get rid of our heavy winter clothes, all the burdens, stress and troubles disappear with them. Everything seems so much more lightsome, carefree.

Summer is all about being near the sea, in good company at a tiny traditional tavern on the beach and maybe saying yes to a few extra glasses of wine! Isn’t that the ultimate summer dream that everyone is looking forward to each year?

Nothing screams summer more than seafood and, luckily, Greece is blessed with an abundance of fresh, delicious fish and a huge variety of top quality seafood in general. Whether cooked, grilled or even raw at times, fish and shellfish are definitely tasty and light, which is exactly what we need for our summer menus.

Although almost all kinds of seafood can be found all year round, some seem to be thriving during summer, like mussels. Mussels are at their peak in summer and that’s why I prefer to use them in my cooking a lot more often in summer months.

One of my all-time favourite seafood recipes has to be mussels in parsley pesto. Probably not the first recipe that comes to mind when you think of mussels but definitely one that stands out and is super easy to make. It’s probably considered a starter but can easily be served at any point during a dinner or as an everyday meal. In any case, this dish won’t fail to impress even the most demanding seafood lover.

You really don’t need to be a seafood expert to perfect this super simple dish. All you need is very fresh mussels –the same goes for all kinds of seafood actually- that have been cleaned thoroughly.



½ kg mussels (around 20-25 mussels)

1 ½ bunch of parsley (without the stems)

2-3 garlic cloves

100g parmesan crumbled parmesan

2tbsp pine nuts

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt, pepper


1. Clean the mussels. Mussels generally need to be cleaned thoroughly. Scrape the shell clean with a wire sponge and remove the beard by pulling it outwards with a sharp move. Wash them thoroughly and drain them well.

2. Place a big, wide pan on high heat. Once the surface of the pan is hot enough, add the mussels and cover with a lid. They will open in about 1-2 minute the most. Once they’ve opened, remove the pan from heat immediately. We don’t want them cooked at this point, just open. Discard the ones that haven’t opened.

3. Remove the upper shell from the mussels that have opened and discard. Remove the mussel meat from the shell and place them in a bowl. Keep the shells, as you’ll need the same amount of mussel meat and shells.

4. Preheat the oven to 185C. Line a baking tray with tin foil but use a generous quality so that you can cram the mussel shells into the tin foil crinkles and prevent any of the mussel juices spilling from the shells.

5. Add the parsley, olive oil, parmesan, garlic and pine nuts into a blender. Season with salt but be cautious, since mussels are already quite salty, and pepper. Blend well until the mixture has thickened. The pesto is ready.

6. Pour the pesto sauce into the bowl where you’ve kept the mussels and stir gently. With a spoon, fill each shell with mussel meat and pesto sauce. Place them onto the tin foil. Put the tray in the oven and cook for about 12-15 minutes, until golden-brown but not overcooked. They can be served with some grilled bruschetta that will absorb their fragrant and delicious juices.