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Creamy Pesto Mussels

With Grilled Little Gem Lettuce

Posted on by Genevieve Taylor
Creamy Pesto Mussels
Serves 2

Creamy Pesto Mussels

Serves: 2   


for the mussels:
  • 1kg mussels
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 50g bunch basil, leaves and thinner stalks roughly torn
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 75ml double cream
  • 15g freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 clove of chopped garlic
  • a squeeze of lemon juice, to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the grilled Little Gems:
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, sliced in half through the root
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • a sprig of rosemary, needles picked & chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • crusty bread, to serve


Step 1
Tip the mussels into a colander and wash really well under cold running water. Discard any mussels that don’t shut when given a sharp tap against the edge of the colander, and pull away any beard-like threads. Set aside
Step 2
To make the pesto, set a small frying pan over a medium heat and tip in the pine nuts, toasting for a couple of minutes until they smell wonderfully nutty. Add to a food processor and pulse to grind. Add the basil and pulse again. Then add the olive oil, cream, parmesan, lemon and good seasoning of salt and pepper and whizz to a smooth creamy paste. Scoop into a bowl and set aside.
Step 3
To make the dressing for the grilled lettuce, add the olive oil, vinegar, caster sugar, rosemary and a seasoning of salt and pepper to a small jar and shake to combine.
Step 4
Fire up the barbecue. If you are using gas, set the burners to a medium high heat and leave to heat up for 10 minutes. Or with charcoal, light the fire and give the coals 30-40 minutes burn time so you have a good bed of glowing embers before you begin to cook.
Step 5
Once the barbecue is ready, prepare the foil parcels of mussels. Take 2 sheets of foil and lay one over the other in a cross shape. Repeat.
Step 6
Divide the mussels between the 2 foil crosses, piling them into the middle. Bring up the sides to create walls and then spoon half of the pesto onto each pile. Tightly seal to make 2 enclosed parcels. Place the parcels onto the grill bars and cook for 10 minutes, turning over a couple of times during cooking.
Step 7
Remove a parcel and carefully open it up - it should be steaming hot and all the shells open. If not, reseal and cook for another 5 minutes. The cooking time may vary depending on the heat of the grill.
Step 8
Whilst the mussels are cooking, cut the lettuces in half through the root. Brush the cut sides generously with dressing and place on the grill, cut side down. Cook for a few minutes until soft and lightly grilled.
Step 9
Serve the mussels and grilled lettuce with plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juices.


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