We were fortunate enough to have more family move back to Wisconsin. My brother and sister-in-law recently moved here from Chicago in a quaint little neighborhood located near some really fun restaurants, and one in particular called Cafe Hollander. After we first visited their home, we all decided to have dinner at the restaurant that is known for their comfort food, and their great beers. I was in love. When comfort food and great beer is involved, I am there. When I first reacted to their menu, I was not too surprised to see what was on there, and nothing was too uncommon, but one did catch my eye and that was their mussels with a variety of sauces, and that was what I ordered. They were good, and if you have never had mussels, fun to eat.
I have made mussels in the past in somewhat of a classic sense, but this time I wanted to do something different with them, and as I typically do, experiment with that recipe. This when I thought about incorporating smoke into the mussels, and boy am I glad that I did.
Let’s get started.
Ingredients: [Print this Recipe]
- 3 lbs of fresh mussels, inspected and scrubbed
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp shallots, minced
- 2 tbsp flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup of dry white wine
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 sprig of thyme
- French bread, lightly toasted
- Pecan wood chunks or chips, soaked in water for 4 hours
Begin by inspecting all of the mussels. When buying them fresh you want to make certain that they are all closed, and remain very cold until you are ready to clean and cook them. If there are any open, toss them, and if there are any that do not open during the cooking process, toss those as well.
Start by heating up your grill, or smoker. If you are using a grill, heat one side of the grill on high heat, and keep the other side on medium heat. If you are using your standard smoker, heat your coals, or get it brought up to temperature. If using a grill, add the wood chunks to a some aluminum foil and place above the heated source and let it begin to smoke.
When you are ready to begin, scrub all of the mussels under cold water. Get a large sheet of aluminum foil out, enough to house all of the mussels, and poke small holes through it. This will allow the smoke to move through it. Add all of them to some aluminum foil and transfer it to the grill or smoker. Let the mussels get fully penetrated by the smoke, and cook, roughly 10-30 minutes depending on your smoker. The mussels are fully cooked when all of the shells have opened.
During this time, make the sauce. To a sauce pan, add the butter and olive oil and let them fully melt together. Toss in the garlic and shallots and cook for a couple of minutes. Bring the temperature up to a higher heat. Add in the wine, cooking for about five minutes until it begins to reduce. Reduce the heat to a simmer and toss in the rosemary and thyme.
When the mussels are done, you are ready to plate and serve. To a serving bowl, or bowls, add in the mussels, then spoon over the wine sauce all over them. Shower them with fresh parsley, and serve with some toasted French bread to sop up that delicious sauce.
The result is nothing more that greatness. They had a great smokey flavor and took on the flavor of the buttery wine sauce. Super tender and delicious, they were nothing but fun to eat. Hope you enjoy!