Tea-Smoked Clams and Mussels with Szechwan Mignonette - BBQ And Grilling Recipes

The acrid smoke from tea leaves seems destined for shellfish, and the cleanest, fastest, most trouble-free place to unite them is under a grill cover. Just throw soaked tea leaves onto the hottest fire you can make, perch some mussels and scallops above, and in a few minutes, the juices inside the shell will start to steam, the shells will pop open, and the tender meat will absorb whiffs of tea smoke and charcoal-grilled flavor. After that, they need only a dip in a bright bath of peppery mignonette to wash off any sand and send them on their way down the gullet.

Prep: 10 minutes
(plus 5 minutes for Szechwan salt)
Grill: 12 to 15 minutes.

– Large disposable aluminum pan
– Smoker box or foil packet, if using a gas grill (see page 39)
– Grill mitt.

Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (425° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate set on lowest setting
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 3 inches above the fire.

¼ cup loose tea, oolong, black, or green
½ cup boiling water
3 dozen clams, preferably steamers, cleaned
2 pounds mussels (about 3 dozen), cleaned
½ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Sesame Szechwan Salt
1 tablespoon chopped garlic.

1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Mix the tea and boiling water in a small bowl; set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Discard any open shellfish. Make a layer of the remaining clams in the disposable pan; scatter the mussels over the clams; refrigerate.
4. Meanwhile, mix the vinegar, Szechwan salt, and garlic in a small bowl; set aside.
5. Scatter the soaked tea over the hot coals (if using a gas grill, put the tea in a foil packet or smoker box). Put a grate on the grill as close to the fire as possible. Set the pan of clams and mussels on the grate; cover the grill and smoke until all of the shellfish are open, about 15 minutes. Discard any shellfish that fail to open.
6. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with the mignonette, and serve.


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