8 kg of live mussels (1 kg serves 2 people)
Spacious wooden board for arranging mussels
Four nails and a hammer
Ample dry pine needles (ensure they are very dry; if uncertain, collect and dry at home – a large bagful should be enough)
Choose the Right Location
Since this dish requires outdoor cooking, preferably on a beach, ensure you are a safe distance away from trees or anything that could catch fire. Prioritise safety in your cooking environment.
Prepare the mussels
Scrub the mussels thoroughly under cold running water. Remove any possible debris and any damaged or unresponsive mussels.
Set Up Your Board
Place a flat wooden board on the ground or a stable platform. In the middle, fix four nails in a square about 2.5 cm apart. Have helpers arrange mussels hinge-side up, covering the entire board. Create concentric rings of mussels using the nails for support, as shown in the how-to video.
Arrange Hinge-Side Up
To prevent ash from getting into the flesh during cooking, ensure all mussels are arranged hinge-side up. If they keep falling over, use both hands for stability.
Cover with Pine Needles
Once all mussels are laid out, cover them with dry pine needles, creating a layer about 15cm deep, ensuring they are completely covered.
Ignite the Needles
Light the pine needles from different points. Be cautious as they may take a moment to catch, but once ignited, they will burn fiercely. Stand back from a safe distance and let the intense heat bake the mussels.
Let the Needles Burn Out
Allow the pine needles to burn out, typically taking 5–6 minutes. Gently blow away the remaining ash, this can be done with a flat piece of cardboard acting as a fan as shown in the how-to video - after giving it a few minutes for the shells to cool.
Discard Unopened Mussels
After cooking, discard any mussels that haven’t opened. Invite your guests forward to enjoy the dish, using their fingers for a hands-on experience!
Accompany with Drinks and Bread
Serve the pine-fired mussels with drinks of your choice and bread, creating a social outdoor dining experience.