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Barbecued Mussels

Looking for something in the "throw-together-and-grill" category, I picked a recipe out of Patricia Wells' The Provence Cookbook that fit the bill. And although the base recipe sounded real delicious as is, I couldn't help but to mess with it just a little bit....

...since I think potatoes and mussels are kind of a natural match, I added some finely diced Yukon Gold ones to the recipe below. Really, the hardest part of this is getting the grill going but that's not all that hard.

2 lbs mussels, fresh, closed tight, scrubbed and de-bearded (just before cooking)
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
2 large shallots, minced finely
2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, small dice
2-4 fresh or dried bay leaf
1 large handful of chopped parsley
Salt, pepper for seasoning

1. Combine the oil, shallot, thyme, bay leaf and potato in a large skillet, one that can sit over a very hot flame or oven
2. Light the grill (I used mesquite charcoal) and , spread the charcoal out when it gets to the hot grey ash state
3. Wash/scrub and de-beard (if necessary) the mussels
4. Put the skillet over the grill and cover for about 4-5 minutes to let the potatoes cook a bit. You'll want to stir things a bit to keep the potatoes from sticking.
5. Put the mussels into the pan and stir briefly then cover for 1-2 minutes.
6. When the mussels start to open, pull them out and plate them (I used a shallow soup bowl). This will take about 3-4 minutes. Don't overcook them. Discard any that don't open.
7. Scrape up the potatoes and sauce that has collected in the pan and pour over the finished mussels.
8. Sprinkle the parsley, salt and pepper over the mussels.

I toasted some crusty Italian bread over the grill to use to soak up the sauce in the mussel bowls.


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