Drunken Mussels with Fennel & Lemon
Pick up a 4-pack (or more pack!) of Leffe or your favorite Belgian ale. It’s time to get saucy!
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/2 medium fennel bulb, cored and sliced
1 1/4 cups light Belgian-style ale (like Leffe or Duvel)
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon chopped Italian parsley, if you have it (for color)
Crusty bread to mop up the goodness
First, scrub and “debeard” the shells by scrubbing and tugging the beard off (pull away from the opening). Then, open a beer for the chef and pull out a big cast iron skillet, le creuset or any heavy pot with a lid.
Melt your butter until foamy on medium heat, then toss in your chopped onion and fennel. Cook about 5 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Open another beer, add it to your pot, and bring to a boisterous boil. You may want to warm your bread on low at this point.
Add mussels and lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Shake the pan from time to time, it’s fun.
Now your mussels should be opening. When they’re open, take tongs or a slotted spoon and put them into two large serving bowls to hang out while you make your sauce.
Note: if they are not open at this point, discard them. Seriously.
Add the cream and lemon zest to your pot and simmer, stirring here and there for a few minutes until it thickens. Taste, add salt & pepper if it needs it.
Pour your creamy mussel magic sauce over the mussels in the bowls, and break out the bread and another beer. Cheers!