|Tasty looking crustaceans on the grill.|
For those who aren't so familiar with preparing these tasty crustaceans, it's a fairly simple process that includes pulling out the "beards" or tiny fibers that are used to keep the mussels attached to whatever ground they're on. Once you yank out the thin green hairs, it's a simple matter of scrubbing them clean and checking to make sure they're still alive.
This is where my fiancee had the most trouble - he was in a constant state of panic while eating because he was sure he had eaten a dead and therefore toxic piece of shellfish. Never fear readers! This is a simple process - before cooking, you simply need to look for any open or cracked creatures. Cracked ones can go straight into the trash. If they're open, simply squeeze them shut with your fingers, then release and if they don't close up on their own in a few moments (like five seconds) they're deceased and should join their other fallen companions into the trash. Lastly, after cooking, and mussels that do NOT open up after a few minutes on the grill should go into the trash.
Here is what you all have been waiting for! The recipe, straight from Sunset magazine, also found here.
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 bunch cilantro, ends trimmed, chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed
- 4 Fresno or Corno di Toro* chiles (I used baby bell peppers)
- 6 Persian cucumbers, halved lengthwise
- 5 breakfast or other small radishes, thinly sliced
- 1. Heat a grill to high (450° to 550°). In a blender, whirl together ginger, garlic, vinegar, sugar, cilantro, oil, salt, and 1/4 cup water until very smooth. Pour into a large bowl; set aside.
- 2. Arrange mussels evenly on cooking grates. Grill, covered, until half the mussels start to open, about 2 minutes. Starting with mussels that have opened the widest, quickly transfer them to the large bowl, being careful not to spill juices from inside shells, and continuing until remaining mussels open. (Discard any that stay closed.) Cover bowl with foil to keep warm.
- 3. Grill chiles until slightly charred, turning often, 3 minutes. Slice into very thin rings. Grill cucumbers on cut side just until marks appear, about 3 minutes.
- 4. Set 2 cucumber halves in each of 6 large, shallow bowls. Spoon mussels and cilantro bath over cucumbers. Sprinkle with radishes and chiles.