Michigan Beer-Steamed Mussels with Caramelized Onions

Michigan Beer-Steamed Mussels with Caramelized Onions
Michigan Beer-Steamed Mussels with Caramelized Onions Image Used with Permission
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup caramelized yellow onion slices
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • 28 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • Salt plus freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped spinach
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 4 slices crusty Italian or French bread, lightly toasted or grilled  

“While mussels go great with Belgian beers, for this dish, we use a hoppier, brown ale specially created for us by Short’s Brewing Company near Traverse City. It has a little extra flavor and only a slightly bitter taste, with extra smoothness that’s enhanced when combined with butter.

We sauté the caramelized onions, tomatoes, and garlic first, then add a splash of beer toward the end in a quick, 4-minute process. Otherwise, the more you cook the beer, the more bitter it will become.”

—Jason Richardson, Chef de Cuisine of The Green Well, Grand Rapids, Michigan  

Yield: 2 servings

  1. Sauté tomatoes, onions, garlic, and chili flakes in oil over medium-high heat, 4 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender and garlic fragrant.
  2. Add mussels; cover and cook until shells begin to open, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add beer and butter; cook, uncovered, until reduced by half.
  4. Season with salt and pepper; discard any mussels with unopened shells.
  5. Stir in spinach until just wilted.
  6. Divide mussels and beer mixture between two large bowls.
  7. Sprinkle parsley, basil, and cilantro over all.
  8. Serve immediately with two slices bread each.