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Mussels With Fennel, Lemon And Belgian Ale

Buy fresh mussels that do not smell fishy and have tightly closed shells. If you are not cooking the live mussels immediately, remove them from their plastic bag (if they’re in one), place in an ice-filled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and keep refrigerated. Just be sure to use them within one or two days of purchase.

Just prior to cooking the mussels, clean them by scrubbing the shells and de-bearding them. Debeard each mussel by grabbing the thread, or beard, that runs along the side of the shell and pulling it toward the hinge of its shell until it is removed.
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups light Belgian-style ale (such as Duvel)
  • 2 pounds live mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. When it foams, add the onion and fennel, and sweat until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper, and cook another 2 minutes.
Add the ale and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Add the mussels and lower the heat to medium. Cover pan with a large lid or plate and let simmer, shaking the pan occasionally, until the mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes.
As the mussels open, remove them to a serving platter with a slotted spoon. Discard any mussels that do not open after 10 minutes. Stir the lemon zest and cream into the mussels’ cooking liquid, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, or until broth is slightly thickened.
Pour the creamy broth and vegetables over the mussels and serve with crusty bread.

Serves 6

Thanks to GlassMoose

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