Thyme-smoked mussels with samphire, fino and chilli

Thyme-smoked mussels with samphire, fino and chilli

Grill Smoke BBQ
Kris Kirkham

Choose large, plump mussels for this and make sure they are all tightly closed when you buy them. Then it couldn’t be simpler: just throw the mussels on a nice hot barbecue and close the lid. As soon as they open they are ready, and they will have taken on the smokiness of the coals. I like to sprinkle the thyme stalks on the charcoal for an extra burst of flavour as well.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg large mussels, scrubbed and debearded
375ml fino, or other very dry sherry
50g unsalted butter
1 small bunch thyme, leaves picked and stalks reserved
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
100g samphire
1/2 lemon, juiced
olive oil, for cooking
black pepper


  1. Wash the mussels in running cold water for 30 minutes.
  2. Light and set a barbecue for direct cooking.
  3. Pour the sherry into a small saucepan and reduce by half on the stovetop, then whisk in the butter and reserve.
  4. Scatter the thyme stalks onto the hot charcoal. Throw the mussels on the barbecue – watch out for flames – and use long-handled tongs to spread them out into one even layer. Close the lid of the barbecue and cook for 6–7 minutes or until the mussels have opened, then immediately transfer to a large bowl and add the sherry butter, chilli, samphire, thyme, lemon juice and some pepper. Cover the bowl and leave for 2 minutes, shaking once or twice to make sure everything is mixed well together and the samphire gets lightly steamed.
  5. Divide the mussels and samphire evenly between the plates, pouring over any juices that have collected in the bottom of the bowl.

Serve with

  • Chilli-spiked grilled mackerel with lemon pickle, young spinach and sumac; Grilled fennel with goat's curd, honey and hazelnut picada; Grilled baby artichokes with pine nut purée and poached eggs; Scallops in their shells with wild mushrooms and horseradish gremolata.
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