This preparation has roots in a French seaside tradition of a large cookout similar to a New England clambake. Pine is usually avoided in barbecue circles, as the resinous smoke can be overpowering and bitter. But given the quick cooking time of mussels, this highly aromatic and dense smoke is a perfect touch. Here the mussels are served with tarragon aioli, as the cool flavor of tarragon softens the pitch flavor of pine. But any way you present this, it is an impressive undertaking and one that is sure to have all your guests gathered around the grill to watch.
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Reprinted with permission from Where There’s Smoke © 2013 by Barton Seaver, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
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