Sunday, 15 January 2012

Moules eclade

A bitterly cold January night left a dusting of frost across the garden this morning; the darker corners clinging on icily as I arranged the mussels on the board. Wonderful, resinous smoke plumes through the shellfish as the pine needles burn - I can honestly say that this has become my favourite way of cooking mussels.

Fresh mussels
A large bag of pine needles (they need to be tinder-dry, otherwise they won't light)

1 Balance four mussels hinge side up in a cross shape in the centre of an old wooden board or large flat stone (a piece of bread in the centre is handy if they keep falling over. Build up a concentric circle of mussels around the cross, making sure that they're all hinge side up.
2 Add a three inch layer of pine needles on top of the mussels. Light the needles; once they have all burnt away, blow away the ash and eat the mussels. Great with crusty bread - oh, best not to eat any mussels that haven't opened...


  1. That's a myth, actually Stuart. You shouldn't cook broken ones, but those that don't open are likely the freshest ones. Seems to be something Elizabeth David once said that has become common erroneous knowledge (a bit like spinach having more iron than other green vegetables - it doesn't). I believe I heard that on QI - so it must be true...

  2. I like the way you have cooked them! Very interesting!

  3. That is beautiful! Did you use any dip?

  4. Got to try this.
    Does it really get them all hot enough?

  5. Eat pictures - It certainly does! Weekend farmer - I didn't in this instance, but garlic mayo would work a treat with them...