While it's many people cook crustaceans such as shrimp and even lobster on the grill, few people realize that you can grill other types of shellfish as well.
Though the mollusks are prepared on a grill, the cooking method involves a steaming process, since the heat causes them to steam in their own juices, with their shells acting as miniature pans. The oysters, clams, and mussels have built-in Â“timersÂ”Â—their shells are tightly closed when fresh, but they pop open when they are done cooking. Any shell that doesn't open at all should be discardedÂ—it is probably bad. Scallops are an exception to the closed-shell rule. If purchased in their shells, they are still alive, and so they will be slightly open. You will have to watch them carefully to monitor the cooking progress.
Prepare the sauce in a baking pan on the grill, and put the shellfish into the pan when they are done cooking. The juices from the mollusks will mix with the sauce, infusing it with flavor. You can serve your guests directly from this pan. Toast some bread on the grill to serve along with these succulent morsels, and you have an easy, delectable first course.
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 48 assorted shellfish, such as mussels, clams, oysters, and scallops, scrubbed and debearded
- 4 thick slices peasant bread
- 3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopp
- 1. Heat charcoal grill until coals are white-hot, 30 to 40 minutes. Place baking pan on grill; add butter, lemon juice, wine, garlic, red pepper, salt, and pepper.
2. As butter melts, arrange shellfish in a single layer on the grill. Cook until shells pop open, 2 to 5 minutes; meanwhile, toast bread on edge of grill. Transfer opened shells to pan of sauce; sprinkle with parsley; discard unopened shells. Serve immediately with bread.