A couple months ago, I got an email from Foodbuzz asking if I wanted to be part of their New Belgium Brewing Company Food Pairing Challenge. Of course, I said yes and was happy to find out that I was chosen to participate. Foodbuzz provided everyone with a stipend of $50 and instructed us to make a meal either using a New Belgium beer or make a meal that pairs well with one.
I’ve had a few New Belgium beers before, my favorite being Mothership Wit. However, Jason is not a fan of wheat beers and I knew that if I bought a 6-pack of that, the remaining beers would be in my fridge for a long time before I drank them. I’m not a big drinker at home. So instead, I went with Fat Tire, an amber.
It took me a long time to come up with what I wanted to make. I knew that I wanted to make a recipe that used the beer as opposed to one that went well with beer. At first I thought about some sort of bread. And then I thought about chili and then for a while, I thought about doing a shrimp boil. But it wasn’t until my birthday dinner at Wisteria when I came up with my idea. Mussels!
I had mussels for the first time in London. I studied there one semester of my junior year in college. I was in a Belgian restaurant (hey, New Belgium, I didn’t even think about that!) with my roommate and some relatives of hers and I thought that I might as well be adventurous and try them. I’m glad that I did because they’re one of my favorite types of seafood. I can’t for the life of me remember what the restaurant was called but you went down an elevator and I think the servers might have been dressed as monks. Or I made that up.
I often order mussels in restaurants but had never made them at home. I stopped at Whole Foods after work and picked up 2 pounds of mussels. Since these particular mussels were farmed, I did not have to scrub or de-beard them; I just let them soak in some water for about ten minutes.
After they had soaked, I went through all of them and picked out the ones that were opened to tap. If you tap them and they close, they’re okay. If they stay opened, they’re bad and need to be thrown out. I ended up throwing out about ten.
I combined onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, beer and spices in a pot and added the mussels.
I covered the pot and cooked them on medium for about 7 minutes. With cooked mussels, it’s the opposite, if they are closed, they are bad. Fortunately, mine were all opened. I served them with a piece of corn and some french bread for sopping.
This tasted as good as any mussel dish that I’ve had in a restaurant, the Belgian restaurant in London included. Okay, maybe not that one!
Fat Tire Mussels
2 generous servings
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
1/2 can Fat Tire Amber Ale
2 lbs mussels
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper
1. Rinse mussels.
2. Melt butter in pot on medium. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, beer, salt and red pepper. Let simmer for five minutes.
3. Add mussels and cover. Let cook for 7 minutes, stirring ocassionally.