Grilled Mussels à la Marinière

Moules frites is one of those dishes that is quintessentially French to me.  It’s something that feels complicated or celebratory but in actuality is very unfussy.  The quality and simplicity of the ingredients are what elevates the meal, not hours of work or complicated preparation.

Easy Grilled Mussels à la Marinière

It’s the ease of preparation and elegance of French mussels that make it one of my favorite meals to make when entertaining.  Moules Frites is the classic – meaning mussels and fries in French, but when making mussels at home I prefer to just serve simply with a good baguette.

Baguette is essential because when it comes to mussels, it’s alllll about the broth, and there are few things better than a big hunk of crusty bread dunked in it. The classic way to cook mussels is à la marinière which consists of steaming them in broth of white wine, butter, shallots, and garlic.  You can now understand the need for good dunking bread I’m sure.

Easy Grilled Mussels à la Marinière - sauteeing garlic, butter, and shallots

Entertaining this time of year is all about being outside, so grilled mussels just makes sense.  Since everything is cooked simply in one pot, it’s really easy to steam the mussels on the grill instead of on the stovetop.  Grilling also imparts a just a hint of smokiness to the mussels that’s delicious but not overpowering.

Grilled Mussels à la Marinière

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, or diced regular tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 3 lbs mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 1 large baguette
  • Lemon wedges to garnish, optional

Easy Grilled Mussels à la Marinière - tomatoes, parsley, shallots, and butter

Almost everything for grilled mussels can be prepared in advance so that you can really throw everything together in 10 minutes whenever you’re ready to eat.  The first step is making sure your mussels are clean and de-bearded.  Farm raised mussels are very prevalent and are usually already clean and de-bearded, so this work should be minimal.

If you do find any beards on the mussels (these will look like clusters of brown threads where the shell closes) just pull on them to remove.  Make sure to discard any mussels that don’t close or whose shells are cracked.  The mussels should be stored in the refrigerator very cold.

Prep the shallots, garlic, and tomatoes in advance if desired and set aside.  You could also prep them while the grill heats when you’re ready to cook.

Easy Grilled Mussels à la Marinière - sauteeing garlic, butter, and shallots

When you’re ready to eat, light the grill and turn to medium heat.  Place an oven proof pan (I use my Le Creuset dutch oven for this, and it works beautifully) over the grates and add 1 tbsp butter and olive oil to the pan.  Sauté the shallots first for 5-6 minutes or until they become translucent, stirring occasionally.

Once the shallots are soft and cooked through, add the garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds.  Enjoy that wonderful smell of sautéing garlic and onions.  Next, add the wine and simmer with the lid off but the grill shut for 4-5 minutes.  The alcohol will cook off and the liquid will reduce a bit.

Easy Grilled Mussels à la Marinière - sauteeing white wine, butter, shallots, and tomatoes

After the wine cooks off, add the tomatoes and the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and stir to form the broth.  Immediately after adding the tomatoes and butter, add the mussels as well.  Stir the mussels with the broth and tomatoes so that the mussels are evenly heated.

Once on the heat, the mussels will only take 5 minutes or so to cook through.  If you have a top rack on your grill, you could heat the baguette on that rack once you add the mussels to the pan.  Cover the grilled mussels and let them steam in the garlic, wine broth for 5-6 minutes shaking the pan every couple of minutes.

Easy Grilled Mussels à la Marinière

After 5 minutes, remove the lid and check to see if the mussels have started opening.  The mussels are cooked as soon as they’re opened, so once you see the majority open, go ahead and turn off the heat.  Remove the baguette from the grill as well and let cool slightly before serving.

Stir parsley into the mussels and taste a bit of the broth for flavor.  The sauce should be slightly sweet from the sautéed shallots, but still savory from the mussels.  I’ve never needed to add salt, but you should test to make sure.  You want the broth to be as flavorful as possible.

Easy Grilled Mussels à la Marinière

Serve the grilled mussels with the warm baguette and crisp white wine.  The easiest way to eat mussels is to use one of the empty shells as a tool to grab the mussels.  The best bites have a little a little of the acidic tomatoes along with some of the sweet shallots.

You can also set out some lemon wedges if you like lemon juice to garnish, but it’s not necessary.  I like to serve these grilled mussels with a crudité platter or a garden salad.  It’s summer entertaining at its best.

Easy Grilled Mussels à la Marinière

Bon Appétit!

Grilled Mussels à la Marinière

Grilled mussels are a simple, and elegant French classic that's optimized for entertaining by using the grill

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large shallots finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or diced regular tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 3 lbs mussels scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 1 large baguette
  • Lemon wedges to garnish optional

Instructions

  1. First, make sure your mussels are clean and de-bearded, and discard any mussels that don't close or whose shells are cracked. The mussels should be stored in the refrigerator very cold until ready to cook

  2. Prep the shallots, garlic, and tomatoes

  3. Light the grill and turn to medium heat. Place an oven proof pan over the grates and add 1 tbsp butter and olive oil to the pan. Sauté the shallots first for 5-6 minutes or until they become translucent, stirring occasionally.

  4. Once the shallots are soft and cooked through, add the garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. 

  5. Next, add the wine and simmer with the lid off but the grill shut for 4-5 minutes. The alcohol will cook off and the liquid will reduce a bit.

  6. Add the tomatoes and the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and stir to form the broth. Immediately after adding the tomatoes and butter, add the mussels as well. Stir the mussels with the broth and tomatoes so that the mussels are evenly heated.

  7. Cover the grilled mussels and let them steam in the garlic, wine broth for 5-6 minutes shaking the pan every couple of minutes.

  8. After 5 minutes, remove the lid and check to see if the mussels have started opening. The mussels are cooked as soon as they're opened, so once you see the majority open, go ahead and turn off the heat. Remove the baguette from the grill as well and let cool slightly before serving.
  9. Stir parsley into the mussels and taste a bit of the broth for flavor.

  10. Serve the grilled mussels with the warm baguette, lemon wedged, and crisp white wine.



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