Drunken mussels cooked in ale and served with sautéed carrots, celery root, shallots, butter, creme fraîche, and fresh herbs.
What is it about fresh mussels that makes me want to pack my bags, move to France, live on a sail boat, sip champagne, and don a 1960’s bathing suit?
Seriously, I’m not even exaggerating. My food associations make no sense.
There is just something about mussels that gets me every single time. They are rustic yet elegant and refined. I can’t get enough of them.
Not to mention, every time I make them I’m reminded of the fact that I do not cook them nearly enough.
If you’ve never made mussels at home, don’t be intimidated by the process. It is really quite easy (reference my moules frites recipe for more tips on how to buy, clean, and prepare fresh mussels)
The absolute worst part of preparing mussels at home is washing and de-bearding them. Luckily most fishmongers take care of this step for you nowadays and the prep time is minimal.
Mussels are probably one of the fastest dishes that you can put on the table. They only take roughly 5 minutes to cook. Serve with a good-quality bread (grilled is great here!) or sourdough.
Aptly named ‘drunken mussels’, these mussels are steamed in dark ale and cooked together with sautéed diced carrots, celery root, shallots, butter, and a hefty spoonful of creme fraîche for richness.
The bitterness and hoppiness of the dark ale pairs so well with the briny mussels. Fresh parsley and tarragon add just enough color and vibrancy to make the dish shine!
Feel free to serve these in the shell with the broth or remove the mussels from the shell for easy serving.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup finely diced carrots
- 1 cup finely diced celery root
- 3 medium shallots diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 ounces dark ale
- 2 lbs fresh mussels scrubbed and de-bearded
- 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped tarragon leaves
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- crusty grilled sourdough bread for serving
- Heat the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the carrot, celery root, shallots, and bay leave and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes or until softened. Add the ale and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, set a large colander over a separate large pot and set aside for later.
- Heat a 10 to 12-inch large flat-sided saute pan over high heat. Add the mussels and vegetable-ale mixture. Cover the pan, shaking it back and forth occasionally, and adjusting the heat as necessary. Cook the mussels until the shells have opened, roughly 3 to 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open.
- Strain mixture into the colander, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the mussels in a large serving bowl or remove the mussels from the shell (this step will take 5 to 10 minutes).
- Reduce the cooking liquid over medium-high heat until reduced to one third of the volume. Whisk in the creme fraiche and fresh herbs, and season to taste (either no salt or very little salt will be needed). Keep warm. Pour the cooking liquid over the mussels, and serve with grilled crusty bread.
Tips for Success:
- Use roughly 1 lb of mussels per serving.
30 Comments on “Drunken Mussels”
I have never made mussels before, but this looks SO good! I had no idea how quick it was to make. Which means I have no excuse NOT to make it!
I wish I could get into shellfish so I could really appreciate meals like this! I think it’s a textural thing for me, but I’m picturing all of these flavors together and they just sound so good! If you need a partner to move to france with you – I’m in!
Once I got over how ugly mussels are and tried them, I realised that I did really like them. Have you ever been to France or Belgium and had moules-frites? Amazing! Love the way you’ve made a sort of crostini with yours. Mmmm!
Haha! I have been to France (but not Belgium), but it has been a while! I love moules-frites. So good.
I’ve always been intimidated by mussels, but love to eat them (have you ever had them at Bistro du Coin in Dupont Circle? Amazing!) You have made them sound to easy to make at home… thanks!
I don’t think I’ve been there!! Have to go now!
This looks and sounds absolutely delicious! Too bad you didn’t include a photo of yourself in the 1960’s bathing costume! Yes, I am one of the ones that is a little intimidated about cooking them at home, although I have added them to bouillabaisse often! I like the combo! Lovely photos!
While I do enjoy mussels, I don’t often crave them, but you’ve made me want them in the worst way! These look divine!
I adore mussels. I usually make a mussel ‘graveyard’ while eating them, stacking up the shells one on top of the other depicting proudly how many mussels I devoured 🙂 Never had them with grilled bread though and I’ve never dared cooking them at home.
Me too!! Haha! Grilled bread is the best–my new fave mussel accompaniment (besides french fries).
This looks nothing short of amazing! Despite eating them year round, mussels always scream summertime to me!! Also, questioning myself as to why on earth I have never made them at home.
Summertime = mussels. I have to work them into my regular meal time.
I couldn’t agree with this sentiment any more: “What is it about mussels that makes me want to pack my bags, move to France, live on a sail boat, sip champagne, and don one of those 1960′s bathing suits all day?” Seriously! They make me feel so sophisticated. These look fabulous!
I literally felt like a crazy person when I wrote that!! Haha! So happy to know that sentiment makes sense to someone other than me 🙂
I really should cook mussels more. They seem like they would be intimidating to cook, but you’re right, the fish monger takes care of all the hard parts! Can’t beat 5 minutes of cook time. The broth you made with these sounds like perfection along with grilled bread.
Your photography is seriously inspiring Laura. Like, whole other level good. Seriously.
Exactly! 🙂 Thank you so, so much Natalie! That means the world to me!
I love mussels, and I completely understand the French sailboat/bathing suit thought process. I’ve been dying to make mussels at home but I’ve shied away because I thought it would be too complicated. Glad to know it’s not!
Thanks Michelle! It really is easy!
I just got back from a trip to Europe and I was all about the mussels while I was there. I still can’t get enough! I am going to have to try this recipe ASAP to cure my craving 🙂
Jealous!! That sounds like so much fun–thanks Meghan!
I’ve been on a total mussel kick lately, although my kick includes ordering them at restaurants, not making them at home. I forget how easy they are! And cheap too. Love these, and love the pictures, just gorgeous as always Laura.
Thank you so much Nicole!!!
Beautiful! And your grilled bread is beautiful as well!!! My stomach just started growling . seriously.
This looks great Laura! I particularly like the photo of the mussels sitting on the ice.
Can I face plant in that bowl?! I absolutely love mussels and would love to have that bread covered in them.
Haha!! Thanks Meagan!
Never had Mussels. I know, I know! They are a must try this summer. This recipe sounds so good!
I forgive you..then again, you are landlocked so that is understandable! Haha!!
They’re my favourite food, but I know I don’t cook them enough because no one else in my house likes them!
However, and you’re going to hate me know, I do eat a lot of them because when I’m not bouncing between London and the English countryside, I live in Brittany in Northern France. No week spent at that house is complete without at least one serving!
Man, can I move in? Totally jealous of your travels. You must be surrounded by amazing food 24/7.