Tiny Kitchen Recipes: Mussels with saffron and beer

This light, one-pot meal from Brooklyn brothers Eli and Max Sussman is perfect for the night before Thanksgiving or the weekend after

  • Photograph: Erin Kunkel

    Mussels with saffron and beer from The Best Cookbook Ever

  • The Best Cookbook Ever by Eli and Max Sussman

Photograph: Erin Kunkel

Mussels with saffron and beer from The Best Cookbook Ever

Welcome to Tiny Kitchen Recipes, a feature in which we ask chefs, writers, and food bloggers in New York City and beyond to share a recipe with us. Always wallet-friendly, these creations are feasible whether you live to cook or recently stopped using your oven for shoe storage. 

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Our ideal pre-Thanksgiving meal should be easy to make, quick to clean up and light on the belly. If you feel the same way, you're in luck: We found a light, delectable seafood dish from Eli and Max Sussman's new cookbook, humbly titled The Best Cookbook Ever. Chances are, if you like to eat out, you've come upon the brothers' cooking: Eli is the chef at Mile End in Brooklyn, and Max is formerly of Roberta's and The Breslin. Their recipe for steamed mussels requires just one pot, does not contain poultry and—most importantly—will leave you with plenty of space for the next day's gut-busting feast.

Mussels with saffron and beer from The Best Cookbook Ever by Eli and Max Sussman


- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lb mussels, scrubbed, debearded and rinsed
- 1 cup saison or other Belgian farmhouse ale
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1⁄4 cup sherry vinegar         
- 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Crusty bread for serving

In a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan with tall sides or rondeau with a tight-fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. 

Add the mussels, discarding any that do not close to the touch, and stir for 1 minute. Add the ale to the pan, then stir in the saffron, cayenne, and a pinch each of salt and black pepper, and cover immediately. Raise the heat to medium-high, bring to a brisk simmer, and cook until the mussels have opened, 4–6 minutes. Discard any mussels that fail to open. 

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a large serving bowl and cover with a plate to keep warm. Add the butter, vinegar and a pinch of salt to the pan juices, and return to a simmer. Cook until fragrant and slightly thickened, 4–6 minutes. Return the mussels to the pot and remove from the heat. Sprinkle the parsley over the top and serve right away with crusty bread.

Serves 2

Reprinted from The Best Cookbook Ever (Olive Press).

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)


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