I used to think I didn’t like mussels and that they were expensive, time consuming and complicated to prepare. Now, I think that if I am ever in the unfortunate predicament of having to choose my last meal this dish would be a top contender (followed by a mocha raspberry cheesecake.) This was one of the easiest and quickest culinary creations that we’ve prepared for Rampant Cuisine and yet the result is fancy, elegant and perfect for your next hot date night. We chose to use our home brewed Saison in the sauce in place of the standard white wine and the result was a sauce that is worthy of plate licking (do NOT do this on you next hot date, however.) The sauce is a zesty blend of buttery garlic, lemon, and thyme followed by the slightest of kicks from the cayenne pepper. We also toasted some bread until it was nice and crispy to dunk into the sauce when all the mussels had disappeared. The crunchiness of the bread made a nice addition of texture to the overall dish.
Pair this wine with this mussels dish at your next dinner party and you will be declared a wine master. You will gain friends and lose enemies. It was a last-minute choice but when Nathan and I tasted the Mussels with the wine we both had to take a moment of silence. The wine was crisp, light and fresh and the citrus and apple notes complemented and magnified the citrusy flavor of the saison sauce. I guess Chilean wine goes well with French food?
Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Saint Augustine Ale, Rampant Brewing Company
Because we actually used our latest home brew in the sauce for our mussels it only made sense to have it to drink with the meal! Needless to say, the beer paired perfectly… For me, the most enjoyable combination of flavors were the citrus flavors from the yeast in the beer with the thyme in the mussel sauce. If you want to find out more about Saint Augustine Ale you can find our post about it here.
Mussels in Saison Sauce:
2 pounds mussels
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup chopped green onion
½ cup chopped celery
5 cloves chopped garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup Saison beer
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl filled with cool water and the flour and soak for 30 minutes. Drain the mussels, scrub them if they are dirty, and remove the “beard” from each with your fingers. Discard any mussels whose shells aren’t tightly shut.
In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the green onion and cook for 5 minutes; then add the celery and garlic and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, thyme, beer, pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and then add the mussels. Stir well, then cover the pot and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open). Serve the mussels and sauce over a bed of fresh linguine.