Mussels make for a great meal to share. They always look impressive but are quick and easy to prepare. There’s no need to be scared, they’re perfectly safe and will even let you know if they’re not good to eat. Mussels even grow in their own cutlery, making them easy to eat too.
Whilst white wine, garlic and cream make the classic Moules Mariniere, tomatoes and herbs give you Moules Provencal and hard cider gives you Moules Normandie, there’s no classic French recipe for mussels steamed in beer so lets call them Moules Mellor.
I first made these when I’d planned on making Moules Normandie, but a horrible translation error meant my happy shopper came back with apple juice to cook the shellfish in. Apple juice is apple juice, it’s not cider, it’s fruit juice. Sadly the USA did not get this memo, so I had to adapt my recipe. I have now learned to ask for “hard cider” in the US, or just drive to Canada now and again to stock up.
Beer to the rescue!
- Prep time:
- Cook time:
- Ready in:
- Yields: 2 for lunch or 4 as an appetizer
Mussels In Beer Ingredients
- 2 lb fresh mussels
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 12 oz bottle of beer – I like IPA’s for this, but any lager will do
- Fresh crusty bread to serve
Mussels In Beer Instructions
- Clean the mussels – rinse under a cold tap and cut off the little “beards”, these are the little strings they throw out to attach themselves to the ropes they grow on in farms or rocks, they don’t look nice or taste great
- If any mussels are still open, tap them on the work surface, if they stay open, discard them, they’re likely dead.
- Add the olive oil to a large pan and put on a medium heat
- Dice your onions small (about 1/8″) with a sharp knife and add to the pan
- Cook for 3 minutes whilst stirring
- Crush the garlic and add to the onions, stirring
- Throw in the mussels and pour in the beer – I use an Indian Pale Ale, any pale ale will do, I’ve even used Stroh’s, so if you only have Bud or Miller, it’ll work fine
- Cover and leave to simmer for five minutes
- Have a look – are the mussels all open?
- If not, stir and cook for two more minutes, if so, serve immediately
Serve with lots of fresh crusty bread. French is good, but sourdough will do. Italian is passable.
Shellfish dishes do look impressive, and they’re often much easier to prepare than they look. For a delightful serving suggestion use little heart ramekins, click the picture above for details.
You’ll only really get an amuse bouche sized portion in one, which is great if you need to stretch your mussels 6-8 ways as they’ll look lovely, without seeming ungenerous.