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Apr 1, 2010 07:33 AM

Mussels cooked on flaming pine needles?

I was wondering if anyone here has ever prepared, or eaten mussels cooked on flaming pine needles?

I saw them prepared that way on TV a while back (can't remember where, but think it was a morning show with a BBQ segment). I have an abundance of pine needles around my Maine home so was considering this preparation, however I find it a bit scary.

I suppose, mussels are inexpensive so if I did ruin a batch, I'd only be out $3 or so.

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  1. Well, Harold McGee has cured salmon with well rinsed pine needles so I suppose you could do it. Although, I wouldn't have thought using them would be "safe."
    Here's a link to that recipe: (scroll down to about the middle of the page...)

    1. Pine smoke really doesn't do much for food. I guess maybe you might get them steamed open by dumping them on a really hot pile of burning hot dry pine needles. To me it sounds like a "last resort" or survival method.

      1. Mussels with Pine Needles!!!! This brings back memories to a beautiful dish I had in Marseille, at this funky little restaurant tucked on a street behind the Radisson hotel. It was an appetizer of mussels cooked with pine needles - and was delish!!!! Yes, there were pine needles in the dish - chopped to about the size of rosemary - the smell was heavenly - and was definitely a match for taste. (i think you can read my post about it somewhere on the france board). Besides the food, the thing I liked most about the restaurant was that the outdoor seating was like a back patio in the middle of a fruit and veggie garden - and the pine needles with my mussels came from the little pine tree by our table. Do try it!

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          1. My worry would not be tossing $3 of mussels. Dry pine needles are highly flamable. My worry would be burning down the house

            2 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              Well, that could be an issue, but dried pine needles tend to burn hot and fast and die out rather quickly, and it's only a small quantity, not a whole tree's worth. Besides, this is not a dish one cooks in the house.

              Seems to me there was another thread on this same subject not so long ago, and IIRC, the general concensus among posters was that there wasn't much pine needle flavor imparted into the mussels. In that thread, I wasn't sure whether that opinion was just supposition on the poster's parts, or whether someone had actually tried this recipe.

              Hopefully someone could try it again and get back to us.

              1. re: rworange

                my concern was a wildfire, too.

                pine needles don't really have much of a pine scent if they're dried out on the ground, iirc.

                i can't imagine mincing fresh pine needles to put in a dish. i guess i'd expect it to be over-the-top "piney." and that makes me think of retsina. so much....