Before you ask, I have no idea why this dish has the word "dynamite" in it. Maybe "Mussels Baked in a Mayo-Based Sauce" doesn't roll off the tongue quite as nicely. Maybe it's because no conventional adjectives can do this dish justice. Maybe Jimmy Walker ordered it at a sushi joint one night and proclaimed "These baked mussels are DY-NO-MIITE!"
I just don't know.
But what I do know is this: these things are ridiculously quick and easy to make.
No longer will I spend upwards of $10 for just two pieces at my local sushi restaurant. I bake two dozen at a time now and make a whole meal of it with rice and some stir fried greens.
I would imagine I'd get a lot of adulation if I ever chose to serve them as hor'd oeuvres at a dinner party.
Whatever way you serve it, I am willing to bet your family and guests will gush at how the "dynamite" sauce, creamy and tangy with a touch of chili heat, perfectly compliments the briny mussels.
Here's my recipe:
2 dozen New Zealand green lip mussels (frozen or alive)
A pinch of Hon Dashi pellets
1 tablespoon of half and half
3/4 cup Kewpie Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of Sriracha
1 tablespoon of masago (smelt roe)
Pre-heat your broiler or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
If using live mussels, cover and steam in a basket or colander over boiling water just until the mussels pop open (chuck any that remain closed; they're dead). Then take them off the heat immediately. Discard the shell not connected to the meat and arrange the mussels on the half shell, meat side up, on a foil-lined baking pan.
Do not use a cookie sheet because there will be escaping juices.
If you are using frozen mussels (which are usually pre-cooked), simply arrange the mussels in the same way on the baking pan. The mussels will defrost slightly while you put the sauce together.
To prepare the sauce, first drop a pinch of the Hon Dashi pellets in a medium bowl and dissolve completely with the half and half.
Then add the Kewpie mayo. Combine the mixture with a spoon until smooth.
Then add the Sriracha and fully incorporate it into the sauce.
Do a taste test here. If you would like the sauce to be hotter, add a little more Sriracha. If you want it to be milder, add a few squirts of Kewpie mayo. If you think you've added too much mayo, you can thin the mixture slightly with a few drops of half and half.
The consistency and viscosity of the sauce should be like pancake batter or a softened milk shake.
Once you've reached this stage, add the masago and stir slowly to distribute it evenly into the sauce.
Then spoon the sauce over each mussel. Put just enough to cover the meat completely.
Place the mussels under the broiler or toaster oven to cook.
Check frequently and rotate the pan occasionally to even out the browning and compensate for hot spots. Cook until the sauce bubbles and gets golden brown with a few dark spots forming. The total cooking time should not exceed 15 minutes.