A huge mound of steaming garlicky mussels is a great way to cook for a large group of people. I’ve given these the West Country treatment by dousing them in cider.
Cooking them alfresco on the barbecue makes them feel special but these could be cooked on a campfire too if you’re on the beach or camping. You’ll need a clean metal bucket.
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You will need
- Mussels 2kg
- Garlic cloves 3
- Flat leaf parsley a handful
- Fennel or dill a handful
- Olive oil 1 tbsp
- Smoked streaky bacon 6 slices
- Shallots 2
- Cider 1 bottle
- Crème fraîche / thick cream 2 tbsp
- Clean and de-beard the mussels, rinsing them in cold water and removing any that are open and do not close when tapped.
- Finely chop 3 plump cloves of garlic, a handful of flat leaf parsley, and a handful of fennel or dill. Coarsely chop a few rashers of smoked streaky bacon and a couple of shallots. Have handy 2 bottles of cider, one for the mussels, and one for the chef (naturally).
- Get the barbecue nice and hot with coals spread evenly over the base of the grill, and place the metal bucket on top of
- Fry off the bacon and shallots in a little olive oil in the base of the bucket until slightly cooked. Add the mussels, a bottle of cider and the garlic, and pop the lid on to steam for 5 minutes, until the mussels have fully opened. Give the bucket a shake.
To serve, stir in half the chopped parsley and fennel, and a couple of spoons of crème fraîche or thick cream.
- Pour the entire contents of the bucket onto a platter, throw over the rest of the herbs, and serve with hunks of good bread and butter and a glass of cold cider.
Marcus Bawdon is a dedicated foodie and barbecue enthusiast who writes a Food magazine blog, Smoky & The Wood Pit. He also blogs at CountryWoodSmoke.