Beer-Steamed Mussels Recipe | PBS Food

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.

Recipe courtesy of Sam Hayward.

Recipe adapted from Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.


Yield: 6 servings



  • 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 ½-inch cubes
  • ½ 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Spoon the sauce over the mussels and garnish with more herbs. Serve with the bread to sop up the sauce.
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