Mussels were a family favorite at my house when I was growing up.
My mom would often prepare them steamed with white wine, garlic and fresh aromatics, or simmered with tomato sauce and spooned over spaghetti. Either way, toasted bread was always served to sop up all the delicious seafood-infused sauce. This recipe, inspired by my mom’s steamed mussels, comes to you today in partnership with Noble Vines, a California label founded in 2006 by the Indelicato family; a fourth-generation family owned winery that’s been making wine in California since 1924.
Given that it’s summer right now and I’ve been grilling and smoking everything, I decided to prepare these mussels over a hot charcoal fire. You start by heating up a cast iron skillet directly on the grill grate. Garlic and red chile flakes are then sizzled in olive oil until golden and aromatic. The mussels join the skillet along with dry white wine like Noble Vines 242 Sauvignon Blanc crisp with notes of white peach, citrus and lemongrass. You then cover the grill to let the mussels steam while they soak up flavors of smoke and fried garlic. The dish is finished with fresh parsley, mint and lemon zest.
These Grilled Mussels are a perfect summer meal. The deep savoriness of the golden garlic is balanced by the fresh herbs, lemon zest and acidity from the white wine. A natural wine pairing for these mussels would be Noble Vines 242 Sauvignon Blanc. It’s refreshing on a warm evening, and echoes the flavors infused into the dish. Be sure to serve plenty of grilled bread on the side for dipping. Continue reading for the recipe plus more on Noble Vines!
Noble Vines sent me a selection of their varietals to help me get to know the brand better, and I’ll have to say I really enjoyed the 667 Pinot Noir, 515 Rosé and of course, the 242 Sauvignon Blanc. I also tested this recipe with their other dry white wine: 152 Pinot Grigio. The broth was delicious with the Pinot Grigio, but the Sauvignon Blanc provided a little more depth of flavor. For drinking, all of the wines I tried were very tasty and approachable.
The numbers associated with each wine varietal are an indicator of the vine origin. The expert winemakers at Noble Vines have hand-selected some of the best vines directly from Europe. Clones of these vines were then planted and cultivated in vineyards located in Lodi and Monterey, combining European heritage with California terroir.
Grilled Mussels with White Wine, Fried Garlic and Herbs
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 2 pounds mussels, rinsed and beard removed
- 1/2 cup Noble Vines 242 Sauvignon Blanc or 152 Pinot Grigio
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- Zest of 1 lemon
Grilled bread, for serving
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill to high heat. Place a large cast iron skillet on the grill grate, directly over the heat. Warm olive oil in the skillet, then add the garlic and red chile flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden (1 - 2 minutes). Add the mussels, white wine, a couple pinches of salt and several turns of black pepper, stirring to combine. Loosely cover the skillet with a sheet of foil*, cover the grill, and cook until all the mussels have opened (about 5 - 7 minutes). Discard any mussels that haven’t opened.
You can serve the mussels directly from the skillet or pour into a serving bowl with juices. To finish, sprinkle parsley, mint and lemon zest over top. Serve grilled bread on the size, and have a bowl ready to collect empty shells.
* I simply draped a piece of foil over the skillet. The foil will help the mussels steam, but you want to leave some breathing room so the smoke can get in and add flavor.