Wood fired Hot Smoked Provençal Mussels
This dish is so simple. More than the sum of its parts. A great sharing dish, try these succulent, delicately smoked shellfish with char-grilled seasoned sourdough rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil. Ingredients
Feeds four people.
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled, cut in half and finely sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 6/8 tomatoes depending on the size, finely diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- salt and cracked black pepper
- 2 kg cleaned mussels, discard any that are open or broken
- 12 tea bags, ‘builders’ will do, soaked in water to create smoke
- If you have rosemary or thyme growing in your garden cut a bunch and soak it in water to add to the embers. This will give you a wonderful smoky flavour.
To Cook the Sauce
- Gently heat the olive oil in a sauce pan.
- Add the sliced onions and cook on a medium heat for 3/4 minutes without colour.
- Add the garlic and carry on cooking for 2 minutes.
- Add the white balsamic and bring to the boil, reducing by half.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaf and bring to the boil.
- Pop a lid on the pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down.
- Stir from time to time.
- Add the tomato puree and thyme.
- Season with pepper. No salt needed as the juices from the mussels should do the trick.
- Simmer for a further 5 minutes, taste and adjust the seasoning.
- The sauce can be made in advance and used at room temperature.
- Having an oily sauce helps as smoke sticks to oil.
- The sauce looks quite thick at this point, but the fabulous juices released from the cooking mussels will deliver plenty of sauce to mop up with char-grilled bread.
Finger bowls, warm water, lemon slice.
To Smoke the Mussels
- Heat your wood fired oven up to 300C.
- A bed of glowing embers are what you are aiming for at the back of your oven.
- Place your mussels on a tray with a lip or on a heatproof dish. Don’t pile the mussels on top of each other as the ones on the bottom will miss out on heat and smoke.
- Spoon over the sauce and mix the sauce and mussels together.
- Place the soaked tea bags on a long metal spoon or fish slice and carefully reach into the oven and scatter them over the glowing embers.
- Pop your tray of mussels into the oven.
- Close the door and flip the chimney cowl upside down on the chimney to trap all the smoke.
Warning: Use a cloth to turn the cowl upside down.
- Cook for 2/3 minutes then check and turn your tray 180 degrees for even cooking.
- Close the door and leave to smoke for another 2/3 minutes.
- When the mussels open and are plump they are ready to eat.
- Try not to over cook them, the longer you cook them the smaller and chewier they get.
- Be careful when eating the mussels as some of the shells may be quite brittle due to the intense heat.