Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Mar 30, 2011

Ale-Steamed Mussels For One

Libations used: 1/2 cup beer
Libations left over: 1/2 bottle of beer
The rains continue in LA, and one of my favorite comfort foods on these gray days is a big bowl of mussels with crusty bread to dip in some buttery, herbed broth.  I always order the ale-steamed mussels when I go to The Village Idiot in LA - just try snatching a bite from me and you'll be flat on your back.  It's a surprisingly easy and fast dish to make, and perfect for all you single Lush Chefs out there.  This no-nonsense recipe came courtesy of the New York Times - I halved it for myself, so if you need it for two, just click on the hyperlink.  A Lush Chef word of advice, always use fresh mussels.

Ale-Steamed Mussels - serves 1

  • 1 lb mussels in shells
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 full sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup ale - I didn't have any, so I used Stella Artois instead
  • 1-2 Tbs butter, to taste 
  • 1 tsp fresh tarragon or parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Sliced crusty bread, for serving - I like to use a demi baguette when I'm making this for myself
- Rinse mussels under cold running water and be sure to remove their beards (that hairy stuff around the shell).  Scrub the shells well with a veggie brush so they're clean and pretty.
- In a heavy medium pot, heat olive oil, then add thyme, garlic, shallots, and a pinch of salt & pepper.
- Saute for about 3 minutes until shallots and garlic are softened.
- Pour in ale and bring to a simmer.
- Add mussels and cover pot with tight-fitting cover.
- Let the mussels steam, stirring twice, for about 5 minutes until they open.
- Meanwhile, spread a little butter on the sliced bread and put in your broiler until nicely toasted.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer mussels to a medium bowl.  Discard any that haven't opened.
- Add butter, herbs and mustard to the broth and bring to a boil.  Whisk until the butter melts and taste to correct seasonings - if the broth tastes bitter, then add more butter.  I had to do this because Stella has a more bitter aftertaste.
- Pour broth over the mussels and serve with the toasted bread slices.


Jen H said...

These look delicious! I made some fancy schmancy ones from the Bouchon cookbook that are amazing, but I will absolutely be trying this recipe out!

The Lush Chef said...

Ooo, Bouchon! How is that cookbook? I've been thinking about buying it.