When creating this butter sauce, Chef Hayward stressed the importance of restraint when cooking with mussels: “Keep it simple to let them sing.” He used sheep’s sorrel as part of the herb blend, which has a lemon-like acidity.
- 6 lbs. mussels, scrubbed clean and debearded
- 12 oz. bottle of wheat beer
- 3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mixed herbs such as rosemary, chives, savory, thyme, sorrel, and/or parsley, plus additional for garnish
- 1 French baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices and toasted
- In a 10 quart stockpot with a tight-fitting lid, bring the beer to a boil. Add the mussels, cover, and cook, tossing occasionally, until the mussels have completely opened, about 8 to 12 minutes. Discard any unopened shells. Transfer the mussels to a very large wide bowl and cover with foil.
- Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a damp paper towel into a 3-quart saucepan. Add the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Let the sauce cook to meld the flavors and reduce slightly, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, a few cubes at a time, until all the butter has been added and the sauce is emulsified. Stir in the herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the sauce over the mussels and garnish with more herbs. Serve with the bread to sop up the sauce.