Inexpensive, abundant and tasty morsels, mussels are bivalves that thrive in low and mid intertidal zones in temperate seas around the world. As well as being food for turtles, muskrats, otters, and humans, these ink blue, black, and brown elongated shell mollusks are indicators of the health of the environment in which they live. These filter feeders strain out water pollutants and help improve water quality naturally. This reason alone should be enough to make you love them. However, if you need convincing to give them a go, steaming them over fire and then grilling them in an aromatic butter should provide evidence that these meaty nuggets are worthy of serving to friends and family at the next outdoor gathering--we are darn certain they just might steal the show.
cuisine American
difficulty Easy
season Year Round
serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped 2 tablespoons minced shallot 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 2 tablespoons tarragon, minced 1 tablespoon orange zest Sea salt, to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste Olive oil

Directions

  1. Prepare the OFYR fire and place the grate attachment over the fire.
  2. Vigorously stir the butter, hazelnuts, shallot, orange zest, and tarragon in a small bowl until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve.
  3. Place the mussels and the wine in a 4 quart Dutch oven. Place the pot on the OFYR grate, place the lid on the pot and steam until the shells open, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from OFYR, take off the lid and allow the mussels to cool. When cool enough to handle, sort through mussels, discarding any that have not opened, or that have cracked shells.
  4. Pry open shells at the hinge and remove and discard one side of each shell.  Arrange the mussels in a single layer in a shallow OFYR safe skillet. With a small spoon or offset spatula, gently spread a dollop of the tarragon hazelnut butter atop each mussel. Transfer the mussels to the grill grate of your OFYR and roast over high heat until bubbling and aromatic, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Drizzle olive oil over the bread slices and grill on the OFYR ring until toasted and the edges are beginning to char.
  6. The shells will be hot, so use tongs to transfer from the skillet to a serving platter lined with hazelnut shells, whole hazelnuts, or rock salt (to prevent tipping). Alternatively, serve OFYR to table in the same skillet.
  7. Enjoy sipped from the half shell or offer guests small shellfish forks.