Woodfired Mussels a la Plancha
Woodfired Mussels a la Plancha are a taste sensation. If you aren’t convinced about the effect of woodsmoke on food, do try this recipe – you’ll be converted! We used cherry wood chips but you can play around with different flavours and whatever wood you have handy. The juicy mussels combined with the woodsmoke and the fruity salsa will have your friends queuing up for more!
Woodfired Mussels a la Plancha – Ingredients
1kg/2.2lb fresh mussels, picked over and rinsed (discard any beards from the mussels and any with broken shells)
3tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, peeled and very finely chopped
1 small red chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped
3 large ripe tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
Woodfired Mussels a la Plancha – Equipment
Handful of wood chips, soaked in water – we used cherry wood chips
Door ajar for the Morso Forno to concentrate the heat; in our Bushman we’ve left it off and that works fine
Smoke keeper or something to close the flue
Large Flat Pan
Woodfired Mussels a la Plancha – Method
- Heat the large flat pan in the oven.
- Squeeze out the wood chips and using a peel, place them on top of the fire to create some smoke. This will drift over the mussels as they open in the heat of the oven and add some flavour from the wood.
- Add the mussels to the hot pan in one layer and put it in the centre of the oven so that the mussels open up. Put the door on so it’s ajar and the smoke can escape.
- While the mussels are cooking, put the oil, onions, tomatoes and chilli in a small away from the fire in the oven. We put the pan on top of the Forno when we’re using it. Braise them until they are starting to soften – this will take about 4-5 minutes. The oil just needs to warm them through – you’re not trying to fry the veggies at a high sizzle.
- Take the tomato mixture out of the oven and turn it into a bowl. Stir in the chopped parsley and lemon juice and add a pinch of salt and pepper and a little extra oil if it’s looking a bit dry. Mix all this together to make the salsa.
- When the mussels have opened up, take them out of the oven, take off the shell with no meat in (and discard this shell) and spoon the salsa over the cooked mussels in the remaining shells.
- Serve with some good bread to mop up the delicious, smokey, oily juices.
Woodfired Mussels a la Plancha – Alternatives
- Change the wood chips you are using to give different flavours.
- Add hotter chillis to the salsa if you want a bit more kick
- Squeeze in some grapefruit or lime or orange juice instead of the lemon juice
- Use fresh coriander instead of the parsley
Have a good week everyone – see you next time
David and Holly