Grilled Mussels (Terrée de Moules)

Pine needles impart a delicious, smoky tang to the mussels in a classic terree de moules, or mussel bake, which is traditionally done on the beach. The same results (and spectacle) can be achieved by means of a standard kettle grill. If you have access to dried, pesticide-free longleaf pine needles (from a species like aleppo or umbrella), you can collect your own (make sure they're completely brown).

Grilled Mussels (Terree de Moules)
Pine needles impart a delicious, smoky tang to the mussels in a classic terree de moules, or mussel bake, which is traditionally done on the beach.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 12 lb. mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
  • Dried pine needles, for smoking

Instructions

  1. Place mussels, rounded side up, about 1"–2" apart, between the slats of the grill grate. Pile lightly packed dried pine needles atop mussels to a height of about 12". Light needles with a match; stand back. Allow needles to burn to ash, about 4–5 minutes. Dust away excess ash. Eat the mussels straight from the grill. (Discard any that are unopened.)