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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cooking with Beer, Part Two: Mussels in White Beer-Mustard Sauce

Is there an unexplored market out there for people wanting to cook with beer?  The last cooking with beer post had an overwhelming response.  I kept thinking of a line from that 10,000 Maniacs song "Candy Everybody Wants":  "give 'em what they want."

Seriously, I'd forgotten what a good song it was.  Check it out.

But I digress.  It's been that kind of day.  I leave tomorrow for Portland to do the marathon on Sunday and I'm running around in circles. 

Hence, the need for a simple but satisfying fall dinner.  This recipe is adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe that called for five fresh herbs and about fifteen other ingredients.  I've streamlined it to use what I had in my fridge, but you could substitute whatever fresh herbs you had around:  the others in the original recipe were chives, tarragon and chervil.  Don't go crazy buying herbs for this, because whatever you've got will be just fine.  It's that kind of meal.

The recipe calls for Belgian white beer, but I went local again with another beer from Midnight Sun Brewery

Once again, who names these things?  Check out the Lady Godiva-esque figure.  Riding a caribou, no less. 
This goes together in less than half an hour, assuming you don't get all fancy about it.  I recommend against it.

Mussels Steamed in Beer with Parmesan Croutons
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, May 2010

3 slices hearty white or sourdough bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2/3 cup 2% milk
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp. grainy mustard
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
2 lb. mussels, scrubbed
1/2 cup green onions (white and pale green parts only), chopped
1 12-ounce bottle white beer, local if possible
Fresh-ground black pepper and salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Toss the bread cubes, cheese and oil in a small bowl until the cubes are coated;  add extra oil if necessary.  Spread the cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

While the croutons are baking, whisk together the milk and mustards in a small bowl and set aside. 

Chop the parsley and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large pot that has a lid.  Add the garlic and chopped thyme, stir for a minute until the garlic starts to brown.  Add the mussels, green onions and beer.

Add the mustard mixture and some pepper, then cover with the lid and allow to steam for 3 minutes. 

Add 2/3 of the parsley and cover the pot again.  Allow to cook for another 5 minutes.

Take off the lid and get rid of any mussels that are cracked and unopened.

Serve the mussels in a bowl with the broth poured over them;  garnish with the croutons and remaining parsley.

Makes up to 6 appetizer servings;  serves 4 as a main course.

Food/wine pairing:  David drank the leftover beer and I managed to try it--I think if you like beer, it's a great match.  Otherwise, pair with a high-acid Spanish wine such as Albariño.


  1. What a gorgeous meal!!! Hubby won't eat these so I have to indulge when we dine out...but at least I can admire yours~

  2. Have never tried these but they look delectable!

  3. I haven't made mussels in a long time this looks good

  4. Ok, these look so good!! I've used wine on mussels, but never thought about beer!

  5. I love cooking with beer, but I never thought about using it when cooking mussels! Great idea.

  6. lovin the mussel action! But, in my book - you only made enough for one :)

  7. Nice recipe! Definitely going to try this!