In July, we were very lucky to welcome Chef Chris Schlesinger to our classroom not once, but twice! First up, he taught an amazing “Seafood Grilling” class and was behind the grill a second time for “Grilling 101.” Chef Schlesinger, of East Coast Grill fame, is co-author – along with John “Doc” Willoughby - of several grilling classics and is Valerie’s annual challenger in The Great Westport Paella Tournament. This year (the fifth that the tourney has been in existence), Valerie let Chris win for the first time ever (sorry, Chef!). Friendly rivalry aside, we are big fans of Chris’ food – he works the grill with hard-won experience and a natural intuition. The below recipe appears in Chris and John’s book, Grill It! and was one Chris used in his “Seafood Grilling” class – he kindly gave us permission to share this glorious recipe as we savor the last days of summer!
Note: Chef Schlesinger and Valerie are hosting a Cambridge edition of their paella tournament on Wednesday, September 25 at our Annex location – attendees judge the winner! For details, please click here.
Grilled Mussels with Mango Curry Sauce
Serves 4 – 6 as an appetizer
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon good-quality curry powder
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup mango juice (or substitute equal parts orange juice and pineapple juice)
1 tablespoon minced fresh chile peppers of your choice
4 lbs (2 kg) mussels (about 45-50), scrubbed and debearded
4 slices of good French bread, about 1-in (2.5 cm) thick
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Light a fire well over to one side of your grill, using enough coals to fill a shoebox. When the coals are all ignited, the flames have died down, and the temperature is hot, you’re ready to cook.
Make the sauce : put the butter, curry powder, and ginger in a shallow foil pan that is large enough to hold all the mussels and sturdy enough to withstand the heat of the fire. Place the pan on the grill near the fire – not directly over it – and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring a few times, until the butter is melted and the mixture is fragrant. Add the mango juices and chiles, let the sauce come to a simmer, then slide the pan to the side of the grill away from the fire.
Put the mussels directly on the grill grid on the hot side of the grill and cook until they pop open (6 – 8 minutes). Use tongs to transfer the mussels to the pan with the sauce as they are done. (Discard any that do not open.)
While the mussels are cooking, arrange the bread slices around the perimeter of the fire and cook until lightly toasted – about 2 minutes per side.
When all the mussels are in the pan, stir them around a bit to coat with the sauce and sprinkle with the lime juice, cilantro, and salt and pepper. Serve them right out of the pan, along with the toasted bread to soak up the juices.