W W W. C R A F T BY U M H . C O M BRASUCADE Serves 4 to 6 On a solo road trip down the coast of southern France from Marseille to Banyuls-sur- Mer, I walked into a restaurant and the manager asked if I “wanted an employee to eat with [me].” I’ve been asked this too many times during my travels. Usually accompa- nied by some version of “But where is your husband?” Inside, I’m yelling, “That’s right, Grandma, I will never have a boyfriend or a husband ever!” but outside, I say, “No, but thank you.” Anyway, Reader, I ate these mussels. A quiet meal I had: the mussels and I, the sea and the wine, were alone present. 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped 1 fresh or dried bay leaf ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed 1 tablespoon pastis (optional) In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper. Set aside for at least 3 hours (and up to 1 day). Heat a charcoal, wood, or gas grill until very hot. Place a large shallow pan directly on the coals or the grill grate and add the mussels. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mussels open slightly and start to release a little water, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the grill and discard the water. Whisk the pastis, if using, into the infused oil, return the pan to the grill, and pour the oil over the mussels. Continue cooking until the mussels are fully opened and cooked, about 2 minutes more. Discard any that have not opened and serve immediately. Reprinted from Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way. Copyright © 2018 by Rebekah Peppler. Photographs by Joann Pai. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. PHOTOGRAPHY Joann Pai © Hundred-to-One LLC 2018. All rights reserved.