Smoky barbecued shellfish

This is a great way to cook shellfish – the bowl creates a hot, smoky, steamy atmosphere for them to cook in, keeping them juicy and giving them a real barbecue flavour. You can use all sorts of shellfish for this recipe; just make sure they’re chunky enough not to fall through the bars on your grill.

Serves 4 to 6, as a starter
Total time: 25 minutes


2kg shellfish, such as clams, razor clams, mussels, small scallops, prawns, from sustainable sources
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary 
extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley    


  1. Light the barbecue. Get a large metal bowl (or roasting tray) and have it on stand-by.
  2. Wash the shellfish under cold, running water, pulling off and discarding any beardy bits from the mussels and throwing away any shells that aren’t tightly closed. Drain well.
  3. Pick and finely chop the parsley leaves.
  4. When you’re ready to cook, throw the thyme and rosemary sprigs onto the hot coals so that they start to burn and smoke.
  5. Place the shellfish onto the barbecue, making sure all the seafood is in contact with the bars, then place the bowl upside down over them – you may need to work in batches.
  6. After a couple of minutes, carefully lift up the side of the bowl using tongs, and check that the shellfish are beginning to open. Turn the prawns over and place the bowl back on top.
  7. After another 2 to 3 minutes, lift the bowl off and scoop the shellfish into it – check that everything’s cooked to perfection and discard any shells that haven’t opened.
  8. Drizzle the shellfish with extra virgin olive oil and squeeze over the lemon juice, then toss together with the parsley.
  9. Serve on a big platter with finger bowls and napkins.


Nutrition: 159 kcals, 5.3g fat (0.7g saturated), 22.7g protein, 5.1g carbs, 0.3g protein, 1.2g salt, 0g fibre.


Recipe © Jamie Oliver. Photography © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited, by David Loftus.