Grilling clams and mussels gives them a smokiness you can't get on your stove.
Use hardwood charcoal for the best, smokiest flavor, but a gas grill will work fine, and you can add wood chips.
The cooking time may vary depending upon your grill and the temperature of the shellfish. In addition, the thicker shells on clams mean that they usually take longer to cook.
Take each mollusk off the grill as it opens; some will take a little longer, but as long as they open, they are safe.
After cooking your clams and mussels, you'll be left with a pan of garlicky, salty juices to pour over the mollusks.
You'll want to pour the rich pan juices over the shellfish, and reserve some of that garlicky liquid for dipping grilled bread.
Grilled Clams and Mussels with Garlic, Almonds, and Basil
Adapted from a recipe by Melissa Clark in The New York Times.
Time: 40 minutes
Makes 4 servings
½ cup dry white wine
5 garlic cloves (4 thinly sliced, 1 finely chopped)
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes, more to taste
¾ cup chopped Italian basil leaves
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Grilled baguette, for serving
- Build a hot charcoal fire, mounding coals in the center of the grill, or heat a gas grill to high
- Scrub mussels and clams under running water to remove any grit.
- Put clams, wine, oil, sliced garlic, and chili flakes in a large disposable aluminum roasting pan and stir. Cover pan tightly with heavy-duty foil.
- Place pan on the grill and cover. Let cook undisturbed for 10 minutes, then use mitts to open foil and stir in mussels. Replace foil and continue cooking, with grill covered, 10 minutes more. By this time, most or all of the shellfish should be open.
- Use tongs to transfer opened shellfish to a serving bowl and return any unopened in the pan to continue cooking, covered, for another few minutes. Any that remain unopened should be discarded. Combine all shellfish and pan juices in the bowl.
- Toss shellfish with mint, almonds, chopped garlic and lemon zest. Drizzle with additional oil. Brush grilled bread slices with oil and serve alongside for soaking up juices.
Nutrition per serving: 447 calories; 22 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 12 grams monounsaturated fat; 3 grams polyunsaturated fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 0 grams sugars; 41 grams protein; 89 milligrams cholesterol; 1175 milligrams sodium