The slightly bitter Belgian ale combines nicely with the brininess of the mussels, and the light cream sauce is accented by lemon and fennel. Keep a hunk of crusty bread nearby so that you can soak up the leftover sauce.
What to buy:
Look for fresh mussels that do not smell fishy and have tightly closed shells.
You can use a 12-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe, but any heavy-bottomed pot with a lid will work.
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. But 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 debearding 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 the shell until it is removed.
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