French Bistro Grilling Menu: Mussels with Grilled French Bread & Grilled Chicken Paillard
A couple of years ago I saw an episode of Bobby Flay’s “Boy Meets Grill” entitled French Bistro Grilling. Tim and I adore typical French bistro fare. Figuring it would only be more delicious on the grill, I printed out the episode’s recipes.
We finally cooked the mussels and chicken paillard when my mom was visiting us in the Berkshires a couple summers ago. She still talks about how delicious the meal was so I figured this menu was worth posting!
We started our meal with steamed mussels with white wine, tarragon, shallots, butter and grilled French bread. I am not sure if you get a much better flavor by putting the pot of mussels on the grill but it was fun and the grilled bread was tasty! The wine-based broth was delicious. Definitely have plenty of bread on hand for dunking!
Even though I have long been a lover of moules frites, this was the first time I actually cooked mussels. A couple things to keep in mind when purchasing mussels. Mussels must be cooked while they are still alive. Look for loose mussels or ones in mesh bags bathed in water. The mussels should smell like the sea. Here’s an excerpt on storing and cleaning mussels that I found helpful. To read the entire article from Suite 101, click here.
Store mussels in the bottom of your refrigerator, covered with a damp cloth or wrapped in wet newspaper. They are best cooked the same day, but will keep, refrigerated at 40 degrees, for 5-8 days. The double check as to whether they were alive comes after they are steamed: If they fail to open, throw them out.
Cleaning & De-Bearding Mussels: You want to get rid of as much sand as possible. Soak the mussels in cool fresh water for 20-30 minutes before cooking. The mussels will expel most of the sand inside the shell as the “breathe.”
Then with your hands or a firm brush, clean the mussels under running water. If you harvested the mussels yourself off the rocks at the shore (lucky you!), the barnacles on the shells will take quite a bit more cleaning to get the sand and grit out
Some mussels may have a “beard,” a small web of vegetative matter with which the mussel clings to the rocks. Wait to de-beard the mussels until just before cooking. When you’re ready, the beard is easily removed by gripping it and giving it good tug towards the hinge edge of the shell. If it’s stubborn, you may need to use a knife or kitchen scissors.
After steaming mussels (recipes below) remove them to your serving dishes and let the broth rest a few minutes to allow any remaining sand to settle to the bottom. Then carefully ladle or pour out the broth, but not all the way to the bottom. Alternatively you can strain the broth through a cheesecloth-lined collander.
- 2 cloves garlic
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the bread
- 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups white wine
- 2 pounds cultivated mussels, scrubbed
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 baguette, halved lengthwise
Heat grill to high. Sprinkle garlic with a pinch of salt and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear the garlic to a coarse paste. Heat the oil in a stockpot on the grates of the grill, add the shallots and garlic and cook until shallots soften. Add the wine, bring to a boil and stir in the mussels. Cover the pot and cook the mussels until all of them have opened, about 6 to 8 minutes, discard any that do not open.
Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer and whisk in the butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir in the tarragon. Pour the mixture over the mussels and serve immediately with grilled bread.
Brush cut side of baguette with oil, season with salt and pepper and grill, cut side down until lightly golden brown.
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 1/4 cup pure olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, pounded thinly
- 1/2 pound arugula
- 2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, diced
- 1 small red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
- Lemon halves, for garnish
Whisk together lemon juice, shallot, olive oil and black pepper in a large baking dish. Add the chicken, turn to coat and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat grill to high. Remove chicken from marinade, season with salt on both sides and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and just cooked through.
Combine arugula, tomatoes and onions in a large bowl, toss with the vinegar and oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place each paillard on a large plate, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and top with some of the arugula-tomato salad. Garnish with lemon halves.