Today’s recipe is inspired by the best bowl of mussels I have EVER eaten at Boston’s Toro tapas bar. I happened to stumble across this restaurant the night before an interview at BU. The place was packed on a freezing cold Monday night with loud music, a great beer selection, and an outstanding tapas menu. Nothing takes away nervous jitters for me like a delicious meal and cool atmosphere, and Toro certainly delivered.
The cider-steamed mussels were fresh and the biggest I’ve ever seen, and the broth had so much flavour (I practically licked my bowl clean). The dish stuck with me because it wasn’t the typical white wine broth (which I still love by the way), but it was spicy, fragrant, and packed with interesting textures!
My take is slightly different, because I replace the cider with a Belgian wheat beer, and add a few extra touches for a bit of freshness. But my hat’s off to Toro for truly the most spectacular bowl of mussels I’ve ever had (and I’ve had A LOT). If you’re tied to your desk and unable to get away to Boston for a bit, try making this easy but hugely flavourful dish perfect for hosting a crowd, a Saturday night in, or just because you’re feeling fancy on a weeknight!
Beer-Steamed Mussels with Chorizo and Toasted Hazelnut Butter
Total time: 25 minutes
Hands on time: 25 minutes
Ingredients for mussels
1-1.5 Ibs mussels, cleaned and checked
1 cup diced chorizo sausage
3 shallots, diced
2 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. hot chili flakes
1 cups beer*
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped parsley (not packed down)
*I really like to pair this recipe with a bitter Wheat beer because it stands up nicely to the flavourful chorizo, but feel free to use anything you like.
For hazelnut butter
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
2 tbsp. butter
1. Cook chorizo in pan (large enough for your mussels- I recommend a wide shallow cooking pot but
it must have lid) on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until some of the fat has rendered out and the chorizo is just crispy. Remove the chorizo from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel, keeping the fat in the pan
2. Bring pan down to medium heat and add butter. Once melted, add the shallots, garlic, and chili flakes and cook until the onions are just translucent, about 5-7 minutes
3. In the meantime, add the hazelnuts to another small pan with the butter and toast over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside until serving
4. In the large pan, add the beer and bring the pan to a simmer, cooking for about 5 minutes. Taste, and add salt and pepper accordingly
5. Return 1/3 of the chorizo back to the cooking liquid (keeping the other 2/3 aside) and add the mussels. Stir the mussels very well, coating each with the cooking liquid. Place the lid on the pot and cook until the mussels open, about 6-8 minutes
6. Turn the heat off, add in the rest of the chorizo and squeeze lemon overtop. Mix well. Stir in most of the parsley and hazelnuts, saving a few for garnish on top. Serve immediately alongside some toasted bread and enjoy!