Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pine needle smoked mussels

Yes, mussels cooked over a bed of smoking pine needles! (√©clade de moules) Trust me, the aroma if these mussels was heavenly and the taste was nothing short of sublime. If the thought of flaming dry pine needles scares you, fear not, it was all quite contained, and we kept the grill lid and a hose nearby, just in case. The end result of this forest and ocean collaboration was tender mussels with beautiful, clean saltiness from the sea, and smokey pine overtones.

It's a theatrical experience to be sure, and would certainly entertain your guests. I would have never,  ever thought of this recipe on my own—all credit goes to grilling guru Steven Raichlen, who found it on one of his worldly BBQ pilgrimages in France. Leave it to the French. Read what Steven says about the experience here, and click here for his mussels on pine needles recipe. We anointed our smoked mussels with luscious melted butter. To round out the meal we had halved radishes with french Feta cheese to start, and a simple mesclun salad to finish. Although Raichlen states that it would be criminal not to have anything other than a dry Muscadet wine with the mussels, we think a French ros√® made for a darn good pairing.

"The heat causes the mussels to open, 
while the smoke from the burning pine needles 
perfumes the shellfish in a way you can't even imagine."

 grilling guru Steven Raichlen

To start this light summer meal we had
halves of crisp radishes with French feta cheese 
and a few snips of chives.

smokey mussels... mmmm... insanely delicious

 Finally, a crisp mesclun salad with colorful baby carrot spears 
a mini crottin of goat cheese from Vermont Creamery,
and a crusty French bread.

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