In the last couple years, beer has experienced a surge in popularity. Beer menus are quickly stretching on to lengths comparable to the wine list and specialized beer glasses are coming to the market. Craft breweries are at last surpassing pre-Prohibition numbers, up to 2,126 independent firms sharing their products.
Despite the proliferation of beer aficionados, this malted, yeasty alcohol is still viewed primarily as a beverage. But beer is also a flavorful ingredient that can easily be incorporated into breakfast, lunch, and dinner! For those who are a bit more strict about alcohol before 5pm, a beer-themed appetizer is a great way to dip your toe into the world of eating beer. Beer-Brined Mussels on a sunny afternoon are guaranteed to refresh-- before you know it , you will be tipping your favorite brew into your morning grits!
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer
Replacing the traditional red or white wine of steamed mussels, beer compliments the salinity of the shellfish effortlessly. Red pepper flakes lend heat and smokiness to the dish.
1 1/2 -2 lbs. mussels, debearded and scrubbed clean
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots, peeled and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Juice of half a lemon
1 bottle of light Belgian beer
1. In a large pot, melt butter with olive oil. Saute shallots in butter-oil until soft, 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute. Add sugar, pepper flakes, lemon juice, and beer. Bring to a simmer and add mussels.
2. Cover and simmer 5-7 minutes, until mussels open. If a mussel does not open, toss it out.
3. Serve with plenty of crusty bread. Ladle broth over the mussels.
Matthew Powell is a food and lifestyle writer based out of New York City. He has been published in New York magazine, Bon Appétit, Interior Design, Good Housekeeping, and online entities.