Grilled Mussels with Basil Butter

In the summer we love to be outside, we have the fire pit going and we sit around it and snack. I try to come up with ideas for snacks, appetizers and entrées that will keep me by the action vs. being inside making a meal. This is one of the many appetizers we enjoyed fireside. Even though we enjoyed it as an appetizer it could easily be a meal. I highly recommend making Croistini to soak up the wonderfully flavors of the butter and herbs. Make sure you have the ingredients the recipe calls for. Even though our Croistini recipe uses the oven you could easily place the bread on the grill. A grilling basket is needed for this recipe. Serves 4 as an appetizer, increase the ingredient amounts if you plan on serving it as an entrée. See Chatty Advice before purchasing mussels.

Ingredients

1 lb. of mussels cleaned
1/4 cup of Smart Balance brand butter or regular butter
6 baby basil tips or regular basil
A sprinkle of kosher salt
Grilling basket

Technique

Make Croistini if using and set aside. Preheat a grill to medium high heat or use the higher temperature part of your fire pit or charcoal grill. In a medium pot that can be placed on a grill, simmer butter, basil and salt until aromatic. Move the pot to an area of the grill just to keep it warm. Loosely pack mussels into grilling basket, allowing room for the mussels to open. Place onto the hotter section of the grill. Stir mussels every 20 seconds until all mussels have opened. This takes about a minute. Discard any mussels that have not opened and dump mussels into the pot with the warming butter. Toss and pour into a serving dish. Eat as is for a light snack or serve with our crostini for a more filling appetizer.

Suggested Beverage

Try Wente Vineyards Morning Fog Chardonnay (Livermore Valley), Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay (California),  Franciscan Chardonnay (Napa Valley, California), Samuel Adams® Hefeweizen (Boston, MA) – with a lemon wedge or Flensburger Brauerei Gold Premium Lager (Germany).

Chatty Advice

Mussel must be kept alive until they are cooked. So do not suffocate them in a plastic bag or drown them by soaking them in water. As soon as coming home from the grocery store, empty the bag of mussels into your sink. Thoroughly but quickly rinse all of the mussels. Place into a strainer filled with ice, place the mussels on top of the ice and place the strainer in a large deep container that the ice can melt into. Do not cover. Refrigerate until ready to cook them. When rinsing the mussels, any with cracked shells should be discarded. If you find any that will not close when handled or given a light tap, discard them as well, because they are dead. They will open to breath but once touched, tapped or are moved around they should close. If in doubt smell them. They will probably have a bad odor if they are dead. When mussels are cooked they should open. If some mussels did not open after cooking them, discard them. However, if half did not open they may not have been cooked long enough. Some mussels will only partially open, if in doubt, discard them.

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