This past weekend was Belgian Independence Day! Why am I noting this? Because we have family who live in Belgium, and what better reason to indulge in a tasty beverage? We indulged in the Mc Chouffe, which is technically a Dutch beer, but it was one of our favorites when we drank our way through Belgium last summer. While it wasn’t a wheat ale, it tasted wonderful when paired with a few oranges (eaten in segments, not squeezed into the beer.)
I also recently made these mussels, which reminded me of our trip last summer. Previously, I had thought the term “Mussels(muscles) from Brussels” only referred to Jean-Claude Van Damme. Silly me. Once we were in Belgium, I realized that the mussels were a national specialty. These mussels were simply prepared with butter, garlic, parsley, and a splash of white wine. I was leery of baking them (I’m more used to steaming) but they turned out tender and perfectly cooked. And the the best part was sopping up all the lovely juices with some crusty bread.
adapted from Gourmet, March 2000
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour wine into a 9x13” baking pan. Spread mussels in an even layer in the pan. In a small bowl, mix the butter, garlic, and parsley. Pour over the mussels. Sprinkle with black pepper. Cover baking pan with foil and seal tightly. Bake until all the mussels have opened, about 15-18 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels. Transfer mussels to a large bowl, pour liquid over them. Serve with french bread.